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Frogs are one of a few types of animals that undergo the metamorphosis process, which in turn affects their dietary habits and needs. As baby frogs, tadpoles eat pond plants and algae, but as they grow and turn into adult frogs with four limbs, they become carnivorous. Different species have different diets, but most frog species eat mostly insects.
Frogs hunt live prey, eating snails, spiders, worms, slugs, termites, dragonflies, crickets and larvae. Depending on the size of the frog, the type and size of insect will vary. Smaller frogs may eat more gnats, ants, fruit flies and red worms, whereas larger frogs may prefer roaches, earthworms, small fish and invertebrates. In the wild, frogs will try to eat anything that moves, even if the prey is too large, but in captivity, it's best to offer insects that are smaller than the width between its eyes.
In captivity, crickets are a standard staple diet for frogs. They make a great diet because they're sold by many sources and are easily accessed. Crickets are high in protein but also contain chitin, which can cause digestive problems. Too much chitin can cause impaction, which can become severe. Crickets are still a great staple for frogs, but they are best when served as a part of a varied diet, including worms and other insects.
There are many different types of worms that captive frogs can eat. Mealworms, wax-worms and red wigglers are good insects to feed frogs. Offer worms in small quantities as a part of a varied diet. Mealworms are high in starch, which can cause liver damage. Wax-worms are high in fat, which can cause obesity. Red wiggler worms are not as nutritious as other options, but when dusted with vitamins and minerals are a good feeder insect.
Roaches are not a common diet for frogs because they're not offered in as many places as crickets, but they are high in proteins, vitamins and other nutrients. There are different species of roaches that are offered as feeder insects; dubia, discoid and latteralis roaches are good options to choose from. Dubia and discoid roaches can become too large for smaller frogs, but nymph and juvenile roaches are smaller and have soft bodies, making it easier for frogs to eat and digest. Latteralis roaches are a smaller species, but they're fast moving, which may make it hard for slower frogs to catch.
Insects to Avoid
Frogs should have a varied diet, but it's not healthy for them to eat all types of bugs and insects. Some insects may injure a frog, whereas others may kill, so be careful of what you offer your captive frog. Avoid feeding wild bugs because they may carry parasites, herbicides and pesticides that can kill your pet. Other insects may be toxic for frogs to digest, like ladybugs, stinkbugs, millipedes and praying mantis.
- Frogs and Toads (Complete Herp Care); Devin Edmonds: 2011
- Frogs: Inside Their Remarkable World; Ellin Beltz: 2009
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