You might wonder what the difference is between toads and frogs? Well, the truth is that toads are frogs but the toad family only includes certain species of frogs. Toads are mostly of the Bufonidae family and are identified by their dry, leathery skin, short legs, and their large bumps that cover their parotoid glands.
There is no distinct difference in toads and frogs in scientific taxonomy. But most people associated toads as a drier frog with a rougher skin and more terrestrial habitat.
Toads, like most frog species, are carnivores. Most toad species do prefer insect foods and are considered insectivores but some toad species can eat larger prey such as small mammals. Here is a quick look at the most common foods that toads love to eat;
Toads do need water to survive. Some toad species can go for quite a while without water. They will sometimes hide underneath the sand to find shelter from the heat and the sun. If a toad doesn’t get water every 1 – 3 days, it can dehydrate and die.
Terrestrial insects are some of the most common food sources for toads. These insects have a hard outer shell with soft boneless inner structures. Toads will eat all sorts of terrestrial insects such as ants, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, moths, butterflies, and many others.
Toads prefer to catch insects live and act instinctively to catch live insects as they move about. They don’t eat dead insects because they cannot see them. If you are offering a dead insect to a toad then it is best to offer it using a set of pliers or to offer the food in a dropping motion so the toad can see it.
Toads will also eat a variety of invertebrate insects. These are insects that don’t have any backbone but have soft bodies. Toads love to eat all sorts of soft-bodied insects such as earthworms, slugs, snails, grubs, mealworms, and many types of insect larvae.
It can sometimes be hard for toads to ‘see’ worms or slugs. If your frog isn’t catching the live worms you are offering it then you can always try to mimic insect movement by grabbing the worm using a plier and moving it about the cage.
Larger toad species can also catch small animals to feed. A good example of a toad that can eat other animals is the bullfrog. They can catch and eat mice, young rats, and other small animals like baby squirrels, rats, mice, and others.
Some toads are big and fast enough to feed on reptile species. They can catch and eat small reptiles like lizards and even certain snakes. Toads do prefer to avoid dangerous snake types but they will catch and eat blind snake species.
Toads can swim as well as any other given frog. They will sometimes catch and eat small fish or fry. Fish isn’t one of the most common foods for frogs because it can be hard to catch. But toads can be successful in hunting for fish by sitting and waiting in shallow waters for fish to pass by.
Some toad species can be cannibalistic. If larger toads become hungry enough, they will catch and eat smaller toads and frogs. They usually feed on other species of toad but will also eat their own species if food is scarce.
Toads usually don’t eat dead foods but they will do so if they can ‘see’ or locate these foods. Some frogs in captivity can also be taught to catch and eat dead food. The biggest diet variations of toads are the fact that they can become cannibalistic. This is only seen in harsh conditions when food is scarce.
Your toad should always have access to fresh, chlorine-free water. Without water, your toad can become dehydrated.
Some toad owners also choose to offer vitamins to their animals. You can do this by sprinkling calcium powder or multivitamins on the toad’s food once or twice per week.
Toads do not like to be handled. If you do handle your toad during feeding, it likely won’t eat.
If your toad is having a hard time spotting food ten you should try to mimic insect behavior so the toad’s instincts will kick in.
In the wild, toads will hunt for any food they find in their natural environment. They will quietly sit and wait for a food source to move by and will catch it by stretching out their long tongues to catch the prey. In the wild, toads mostly focus on insects and small animals they find in their natural environments such as flies, moths, dragonflies, aquatic insects, and others.
A baby toad is called a tadpole. As a tadpole, toads will eat completely different foods. They are omnivores and mainly feed on foods like decayed plant matter and algae.
Young toads that are no longer tadpoles will feed the same food as adult toads but they require smaller bait that can fit inside their mouths.
The amount of food a toad eats depends on its size. As a rule of thumb, you can offer your toad 4 – 6 standard-sized food items. Standard sized food items are usually something that is the size of half a cricket.
It is best to offer your toad food at a specific time of day so you can see when it becomes overly hungry and requires more food as it grows.
Young toads should be offered food daily but adult toads should be fed 2 – 3 times per week to allow them to digest their food.
It is important to buy your insects from reputable sources. Many pesticides in gardens and farms can be toxic to frogs. Ideally, you should only buy from pet stores, insect breeders or you should breed your own frog foods.