If you pay close attention to frogs, it almost seems like they are smiling. “Why are frogs so happy?” you may ask. It’s because they eat what bugs them.
You may have seen a frog eat bugs, now let’s find out what frogs eat most.
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Frogs Habits and Biology
Frogs are amphibians part of the order Anura and the family Ranidae. They are often confused with toads, but the difference only lies in their appearance.
The term frogs distinguish slimy, leaping anurans from squat, warty, hopping ones called toads.
Frogs are social, and they live together in groups called a colony, knot, or army. Groups of tadpoles (offspring of frogs) swim together in schools like fish. They can either be aquatic, semi-aquatic, or terrestrial.
Frogs come in different shapes and sizes. However, they are all built to adapt to their surroundings and feeding habits.
They all share standard features despite the difference in size and breed. All frogs have no tails, protruding eyes, and webbed hind feet.
Nearly all frogs eat insects, and other small anthropods and worms are classified as carnivores. They are classified as carnivores.
Frogs’ color allows them to blend with their environment to avoid predators and also hide from prey.
The amphibians’ eyes are positioned on top of their heads. In turn, this allows them to be in the water while still giving them the ability to see over a wide area. They are also able to see underwater.
The position of their eyes additionally enables them to feed on prey. They push their prey down to their throat by closing their eyelids and dropping their eyes down to its throat.
The frogs’ mouths can open wide horizontally, enabling them to catch large prey. Their mouths are also equipped with long sticky tongues allowing them to catch food without moving a muscle.
The Poison dart frog will go as far as touching its prey in hopes of poisoning it.
Did you know that the African frog can leap to a height of 14ft (4.2meters) above ground in a single bound? Also, not all frogs are known to jump. The waxy tree frog walks like a lizard.
Frogs have many adaptations beyond what is known by human beings. Some even change color like chameleons. The above are the necessary adaptations that allow them to thrive in the wild.
What Do Frogs Eat?
Frogs are general predators. They feed on just about anything that crosses their path, from spiders to grasshoppers, beetles, and butterflies. Larger species of frogs like the African bullfrog will feed on mice and even snakes.
- Amphibians require macronutrients to provide energy and help maintain the proper functioning of organ systems throughout the body.
- Carnivores’ diets consist mainly of 30-60% protein. Proteins are used to construct and maintain muscles. Most importantly, proteins provide energy and support organ functions.
- Fats/lipids provide chemicals, for example, hormones, and are a fundamental source of energy. The primary source of fats/lipids is obtained from insects.
- Phosphorus and calcium causes the neuro systems.
- Insects predominantly contain saturated fats. They are essential in cholesterol regulation, among other factors.
- Minerals and vitamins are essential in long-term health. Animal ‘ash’ (parts of an insect not made up of vitamins, fats, or proteins)
- Vitamins, especially calcium and phosphorus, cover the proper functioning of bone growth and the nervous system.
- What they eat most, by large, depends on their species. Prey items that top their menu include:
- Crickets –contain chitin that frogs digest to produce energy.
- Mealworms –are high in calcium and phosphorous. These nutrients aid in the functioning of the nervous system and bone growth.
- Locusts and grasshoppers –are high in protein that consists mainly of the amphibians diet.
- Caterpillars and worms –are mostly made up of fat which aids in vitamin absorption and provides cushioning for internal organisms.
- Beechworms, blackworms, and other worms –are high in fats crucial in the absorption of nutrients by frogs.
- Brine shrimp.
- Isopods –when gut-loaded, provide a wide range of nutrients essential to the development of the amphibians.
- Snails and slugs –are high in calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus also help prevent MBD (Nutritional Bone Disease).
- Minnows –are a good source of crude protein that aid in muscle development.
- Aphids –are a good source of fats that are digested to provide energy.
- Springtails –are high in proteins and act as a good supplement for frogs.
- Mosquito larvae
- Fruit flies –are a staple food for dart frogs and are rich in proteins and fats.
- Tadpoles –are rich in protein and are at times fed on by frogs as well.
- Small birds –are rich in protein that constitute the main diet in frogs.
What do tadpoles eat?
- It is also essential to consider what tadpoles eat, as frogs were once tadpoles. Unlike their grown-ups, tadpoles are predominantly herbivores. They primarily feed on algae for survival.
- Algae are filtered from the water columns or grazed on underwater surfaces.
- Other tadpoles, however, are omnivorous, feeding on small animals and algae. Most are further classified as detrivores, mainly feeding on dead decaying matter.
- Some tadpoles are said to be greedy predators, feeding on other small animals and their eggs. The larvae of some species can be cannibalistic.
- Ants –are rich in proteins and other minerals such as phosphorus.
Foods To Avoid Frogs
If you intend to purchase a frog to keep as a pet, it is vital to be aware of its dietary requirements: the dos and don’ts.
Every living creature is susceptible to some form of ailment or disease, amphibians included. Countless factors contribute to poor health, the main being what you eat. What foods should you avoid giving them?
- Bread –can lead to gastrointestinal blockage (GIO). GIO occurs when large food items are fed to the frog at a time. Too much bread will cause a frogs’ stomach to rupture.
- Chocolate –contains theobromine that is poisonous to a lot of animals, including frogs. Hence it may lead to death.
- Human table scraps –such as fruit peelings and chicken bits may cause gastrointestinal blockage in frogs.
- Giant bugs –may cause the frog to choke if too large. Some bugs might end up biting or harming the frog during the process.
- Insects caught in the wild.
- Dead prey.
- Pet food such as –dog food and cat food are high and fats and may result to obesity.
- Salty foods –may lead to dehydration as frogs require a lot of water. Salt or salty foods may bring about death.
- Raw minced meat or pieces of meat –are nutritionally unbalanced. Also, if fed, frogs run the risk of suffering from food poisoning.
Tips To Feeding Frogs
There are several considerations to make before feeding frogs. Researching your frog species is crucial for determining your frogs’ habitat’s humidity, temperature, and bedding.
Secondly, you should be aware of the dietary needs of the frogs.
- Frogs require calcium in the diet to supplement them and also keep them healthy. Reptile calcium powder is easily accessible from your local pet stores. Select one that includes vitamin D3.
- Vitamin D3 is crucial as it aids the amphibian to synthesize calcium better.
- Gut-load your prey items before feeding your amphibian. Dusting (applying the calcium powder to prey items) should also be carried out.
- The insects should then be placed in the terrarium (container). All that’s left is to wish your frog, ‘Bon Appetit.’ Natural predators will seize and devour the predator over time.
- Ensure to use a feeder station to keep track of your small prey items.
- You may have to practice hand feeding if you plan on owning an aquatic frog such as the Aquatic Dwarf.
- You should have a tong in handy to aid in the feeding process. Competition with aquatic fish can be problematic when feeding these species.
- For sub-aquatic or terrestrial frogs, you should consider feeding them crickets as a starter.
- Many frog species will feed on crickets, worms, and other insects. Larger species will feed on larger prey, such as goldfish.
- How often you feed on your frog will also depend on the amphibian itself.
- Begin by feeding the frogs few crickets at a time and gradually increase the number if the frog eats them all.
- Introduce different prey items like mealworms, waxworms, and grasshoppers to determine the preference of your amphibian.
- Ensure your frog is hydrated at all times. Clean water should be provided every couple of days, preferably dechlorinated. The tank should be regularly cleaned.
- Frequently check for molds or algae in the terrarium and maintain a clean environment.
- Last but not least, pay attention to the health of your frog. Ailing frogs can be strenuous to treat.
- If the creature appears malnourished, it cannot thrive on mealworms and crickets alone.
- Sprinkle some calcium powder on food before feeding the frog. Keep an eye out for fungal infections like dropsy and spring disease.
- Seek treatment from a vet to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic.
Taking care of these amphibians requires a lot of knowledge, time and, dedication. Are you up to the task?
Although not known for their great looks, they are apex predators in their own right. These amphibians are well capable of surviving on their own in the wild. In captivity, they require a lot of care or will quickly succumb to death.