Toads belong to the vertebrate Kingdom under the class of Amphibia. They look like frogs but keep in mind that Frogs and Toads just look similar but differ from each other. Almost everyone must have seen toads once in their life. And the thought of what do toads like to eat must have come into their mind.
Toads are tiny animals with bumpy, dry, and rough skin. They become active mostly at night, in the dark. Just like other amphibians, they live both on land and water. But their specialty is they spend most of their lives on land rather than water. They hide in the places where we can hardly detect them.
Toads can be very poisonous, and they release poisons from their bumps. They use their long and sticky tongue to catch and devour their prey. They generally eat smaller creatures than them which is easier for them to catch. And, they usually enjoy eating live insects.
Today, we will see what toads like to eat the most. And may even find out some interesting stuff regarding the food cycle. So, let’s get started.
1. Toads (Scientific Name: Bufo Bufo)
Toads are small creatures with short legs, warty skin, and plump bodies. They are found in every country except Antarctica. Toads usually go into the mode of hibernation during winter. So, by this, we can say that toads can’t bear cold weather. Some Toads even disappear in very hot weather.
Though Toads live mostly on land, they still lay their eggs on water. When these eggs get hatched, small Tadpoles are born, this is the first form of toads. These tadpoles are born with “gills and tails”. The former helps them to breathe underwater and the latter transforms into their “legs and lungs” while growing.
After they get their legs, they begin to live on land. This toad contains poison “bufotoxin” at the back of their head. This poison is stored in a gland named the Parotoid that helps them to catch live prey. Some toads’ toxins especially Cane Toads toxins are really dangerous.
Toads can take a short hop, but they usually prefer to crawl. Toads and frogs may seem the same to us, but they are different.
In fact, “All Toads are Frogs, but not all frogs are Toads – Bill Hamilton”.
1.01. Types Of Toads
There are many species of Toads in the World. And there are many representatives of this Species. Some of the types of Toads are as follows: –
- Common Toad
- Banded Bullfrog
- Black Toad
- Green Toad
- Cane Toad
- Yellow-Bellied Toad
- Great Plains Toad
- Oak Toad
- Texas Toad
- Japanese Stream Toad
- Woodhouse’s Toad
- Oriental fire-bellied Toad
- Golden Toad
These are some of the types of Toads found worldwide. But we will focus on our common Toad that is easily available. Many Toads are named after their color and the place they are found.
1.02. Life Stages of Toads
Toads’ life starts from an egg and some Toads’ life ends as an egg itself. That means, some never hatch. But the ones whose hatching process completes, they hatch into a tadpole also known as pollywogs.
Female Toads lay a lot of eggs in water so that a lot of them survive.
These tadpoles are dark in color and are kind of slimy with gills and tails. During this phase, they are only suitable to live in water. These tadpoles are very vulnerable during this period and only half of them manage to survive.
After this tadpole stage, they enter into the froglet or juvenile stage. In this stage, they develop lungs and legs and can live on land. Legs can help them to walk on land and lungs help them to breathe. The tail remains, but it begins to shrink slowly over time.
During this stage as well, they have to protect themselves from dangers. As they are not completely grown and are still vulnerable.
When their tails start to disappear, the metamorphosis stage is over. They enter the stage of adulthood and become adult toads. They begin to spend most of their time on land and rarely go to water.
In this adult toads’ stage, their sense of sight and smell strengthens. They start hunting down their prey and can even protect themselves side by side. This is the last stage of their life, and they are strongest during this stage only.
2. Difference Between Frogs and Toads
The major distinction between frogs and toads is Frogs have smooth, silky skin, and Toads have rough and dry skin.
To talk about their legs, Frogs have long legs bigger than their whole body, and Toads’ legs are much shorter. Frogs take a long hop and Toads crawl and can only take a small hop.
Frogs mostly live on water, unlike Toads. The other minor distinction lies in their colors. We can see frogs in mainly 7 colors.
Firstly, whenever we are told to imagine a Frog, we imagine it green right? So, Bingo! Frogs are mainly green in color but also some toads are so beware of it.
The other colors of frogs include Red, Blue, grey, black, brown, and yellow. The more colorful it is, the more poisonous it becomes.
To talk about the color of Toads, are generally brown in color with dark spots. But some Toads are also green in color. Though they live mostly on land, they blend themselves with some leaves or branches.
Even though the main distinction between frogs and toads doesn’t lie in colors, it still makes a slight difference to know them better.
3. What Do Toads Like To Eat
Frogs’ and Toads’ food cycle is similar. Both of them prey on invertebrates but our main focus, here will be What do Toads like to eat.
The food choice of Toads depends on their growing age. For example, when Toads are in their tadpole form, they mostly feed on plants and grass and are omnivorous.
Whereas, when they reach a certain age and start living on land, they become Carnivorous, feeding themselves with invertebrate animals.
The food choice of Toads also depends on their species and on what environment they are growing in.
At night, it is hard for us to detect anything, but Toads detect their prey. And, it is all thanks to their strong sense of smell and bright sight. These 2 senses them play a major role in detecting their foods and ambushing predators.
So, today let’s see some of the foods that Wild Toads and Pet Toads like to eat depending on their life stages.
3.01. Aquatic Vegetation and Algae
As Toads first hatch into Tadpoles, they find themselves on water, and for food, they feed themselves with Algae and Aquatic Plants.
Tadpoles are just like a small baby; their vision is not so clear but still they have to find food for themselves.
Just because they are small doesn’t mean they are safe from predators. They have to search for food while hiding themselves from predators. So, their safest food during this stage would be some Aquatic vegetation and Algae.
3.02. Insects and Tadpoles
Tadpoles don’t remain of the same size; they grow little by little. And once they are quite bigger, they start to hunt down small insects and other tadpoles. These insects or any animals are tiny enough to eat them as a whole.
When it becomes difficult to search for food for this insect, out of hunger they even devour their kind. They cannot eat something similar to their size or bigger than them.
So, they choose to cannibalize the smaller tadpoles of their “own kind”. Though these cannibalistic tadpoles are a rare case, it’s still a thing.
3.03. Ants and flies
When these tadpoles start to grow. Their tail transforms into their legs because of which they can hop. During this stage, they come out to land and start to live there. This stage gives them the name of Juvenile toads.
Being a Juvenile toad they can eat a lot, but their prey should be smaller in size. During this stage they usually feed themselves with flies, moths, ants, and sometimes small worms.
3.04. Large bugs and Pinhead crickets
When they are about to enter their adult stage. Their appetite starts to get bigger. As they grow, they feed on Crickets and larger bugs. Now, they can even devour the insects of their size.
This is the gateway for Adult Toads, where they completely become Carnivorous. They even begin to eat small invertebrates.
As these toads grow into an adult. Now at this stage, they are not afraid of choking. They have a large appetite.
They can devour large insects as well such as Beetles are easy foods for toads and are eaten by all toad species.
Toads hunt them down by following them or if they are flying, they take out their sticky tongue and devour Beetles as a whole.
Bees struggle to live, whenever a toad is after them, they tend to fight back. But bees are usually smaller in size than Toads which gives them a disadvantage. When they fall into the sticky tongue of Toads. All of their efforts start to fade.
They become unconscious and are easily devoured by Toads.
3.07. Small Earthworms
Worms are the favorite of Toads. Small Earthworms are easy targets for them, and they eat them at higher limits.
Worms are small reptiles that usually come out during the rainy season. Toads usually wait for them and when they see them, they waste no time and eat them.
Toads don’t even need a lot of effort to eat them. As worms move slowly, Toads just have to follow them by crawling, and the next thing they find themselves eating it.
Another easy target for Toads is Spiders. Though Spiders can walk very fast, it can become difficult for them to hunt them down. But, Toads usually don’t follow them.
They wait for spiders and Spiders won’t be able to see them as Toads skin color can camouflage.
When these Spiders come near Toads, they take out their sticky tongue and swallow them as a whole.
Locusts are the kind of insects that are quite similar to Grasshoppers. Toads love to eat them as they are large and can fill their stomach.
These toads go near locusts and at the right time grab them by their sticky tongue. The locusts being large is like a great treat and food for Toads.
3.10. Small Snakes
Though Toads and frogs are usually Snakes’ food. Large Toads can even devour small snakes. Small Snakes are usually like large worms, so it’s easier for them to devour them.
As Toads eat whatever comes their way, it becomes easy for them to eat less poisonous snakes. And baby snakes are usually less poisonous. So, eating these snakes is like eating worms for them.
Mice being a fast runner can be food for toads, especially cane toads. They can be a hard catch but once they are caught, they won’t be able to break through. Once they meet with Toad’s sticky tongue, they will find themselves in Toad’s stomach.
Large Toads’ can easily gulp these mice in one go and fill their stomach without giving them any time to think and resist.
Mealworms don’t show any sign of resisting. So, they become a very easy target to hunt down. They are just a larval form of beetles so are very vulnerable.
They are slow as well, so catching them is not a big deal. Toads feed themselves with these Mealworms and they don’t even have to work much. Just find them and devour them.
Fish is another delicious and nutritional dish for Toads. The size of this fish depends on the size of the Toad preying on it. Small Toads go for small fishes and large toads go for large fishes.
Even though Toads mostly live on land. Whenever they are near water, they don’t miss the chance of eating these fish. They eat fish mostly in their juvenile stage.
As Snails are very slow walkers, we may think they can still protect themselves because of their shells. But we are wrong here. As Toads and frogs don’t have teeth, the work of biting is not there. And the shells can only be hard to bite.
Toads are known for swallowing their prey without biting. So, eating a snail for large toads is nothing.
Grubs are also a larva form of a particular species of Beetle. As they are very tiny, it becomes very easy for Toads to eat them.
They can find grub and eat them as a whole with the help of their sticky tongue.
4. What To Feed To Pet Toads
Wild Toads eat all the above-mentioned insects. But you may want to feed something extra to your pet toad, the foods or insects that are easily accessible.
Well, the foods from above that toads eat in the wild are also safe for your pet toad, you can feed them other insects as well. Toads can eat both vertebrates and invertebrates depending on their growing stage. But make sure to feed toads live prey.
So, when they are just a tadpole, feed them some aquatic plants, algae, aquatic vegetation, very tiny fish, and Phytoplankton.
When your tadpoles take the form of juvenile toads, you can feed them small slugs, snails, mealworms, pinhead crickets, and fruit flies.
When your Toad reaches the last stage that is when they become an adult toad, feed them Crickets, Roaches, Mice, Mealworms, Hornworms, Grasshoppers, Silkworms, Shrimp, and super worms. In short, you can give your captive toad any harmless worms to eat.
For a change, you can even give them human food such as a chunk of ground beef, pork, Tilapia, or soft fruits and vegetables. Don’t worry, Toads have a very strong sense of smell. So, if they don’t like the smell of certain meat. Then they can ignore those foods.
5. Fun Facts About Toads
- When Toads feel danger, toads make themselves bigger by puffing themselves or may even play dead.
- Toads feed on live insects, they avoid dead insects. And, even if they consume dead insects, they tend to take it out after a while.
- Toads don’t have teeth, so they don’t bite their prey. They just swallow food alive, and their prey dies after going into their stomach.
- Toads being very tiny creatures, sure live a long life. In the Wild, Toads can live for almost 10 to 40 years. If you are keeping a toad as a pet, then they can survive even more in captivity.
- Both Toads and Frogs can breathe with the help of their skin. Even though they have lungs, they can still respirate through their body skin. This process is known as “Cutaneous Respiration”.
- When the time of breeding arrives. Male Toads usually attract Female toads with their unique songs. These unique songs help them to impress female toads. Every species comes out with a unique song in an attempt to impress their female toads.
- In many cultures, Toads are seen as a sign of Transformation and growth. Because of their interesting life cycle, they have become the symbol of rebirth and growth.
- Their skin helps them to Camouflage. Because of their easily blendable skin, it’s hard to spot them in the woods. They can blend so well with brown branches and leaves that we may not even notice them with our bare eyes.
- Toads are very hungry creatures, and they can eat as many insects as they want to. They can even devour whatever comes their way and if they don’t like the taste, they will spit it out. Still, they have a large appetite and can eat anything.
6. Final Note
Therefore, Toads are an amazing creature that helps us in a way. By devouring the harmful garden insects, they help in our agriculture.
Despite being so similar, Frogs and Toads are so different, but their food is the same. Wild Toads are a great searcher of food and can wait patiently for their prey to come out.
These small creatures can even take out live prey, larger than them. They just need to be stubborn and quite big. Cane Toads are the largest and the most toxic among all the species of Toads. So, it won’t be a problem for them to eat something larger than them.
From breeding to birth, their life cycle seems so interesting. When Toads are in dry areas, they don’t find any pond nearby. They give birth like a human. They hatch those eggs in their belly and don’t lay eggs but give birth directly to baby toads.
Even though their prey is flying, most toads still manage to devour them with the help of their sticky tongue. Toads are truly interesting creatures in our world.
But apparently, many species of Amphibians including Toads are disappearing. We must protect them as much as we can and stop them from disappearing from this world.
Lastly, we hope we can give you some ideas regarding Toads and their food. There are many species of Toads in the world. And their eating habitat depends on the type they are and their environment. Even so, the foods we have mentioned above are usually eaten by most of the toads.
Don’t be afraid of these creatures and enjoy the creation of Nature.
“The Toad does not come into the daylight without any reason”.
An English Honours student with a keen interest in writing. I love Reading and writing, and I tend to grow as a writer.