As opportunistic carnivores, frogs are known to devour pretty much anything that crosses their path! But what about crickets? Do frogs instinctively eat them? Here is what you need to know.
So, do frogs eat crickets? Most frog species will readily consume crickets, both in the wild and in captivity. However, crickets do not contain all the nutrients essential for a frog’s health, with other insects and live prey required in the diet. Equally, the cricket size in relation to the frog is vital; larger crickets have been known to cause impaction in smaller frog species.
As with most foods in the diet of a frog, the size of the prey is essential.
Large crickets have been known to harm some smaller frog species through impaction – besides, they can easily be lodged in their intestines.
As is the case with all other foods, there is always an element of risk of being swallowed whole.
It doesn’t help that crickets possess a hard exoskeleton that requires digestion.
For most frogs, however, this is not a concern. And they know this.
Nevertheless, the key to any frog’s diet is variety; this will ensure they do not suffer from vitamin deficiencies.
In the wild, this will occur naturally. Frogs will eat anything from insects to small mammals, depending on their species and their size.
In recent years frogs have grown in popularity as pets, with crickets being the most common staple diet, but are these really the best source of nutrition?
Let’s find out!
Can Frogs Eat Crickets?
Frogs can eat crickets; many species love them!
Brown house crickets (Acheta domesticus) have been the most popular feeder insect for reptiles and amphibians for years due to their wide availability and high protein content.
They have recently received a somewhat negative reputation, with many reptile enthusiasts claiming that they don’t contain many nutrients.
However, this could partly be down to how they are commercially bred.
Captive crickets are often fed oatmeal which is a great cost-cutting exercise but doesn’t make them very nutritious for your frog!
The phrase ‘you are what you eat cannot be overestimated when it comes to feeding frogs which is why many frog owners choose to gut-load their crickets.
This process involves feeding crickets vitamin-rich foods, such as sweet potato or fish flakes, which are then passed onto the frog once eaten.
The most essential vitamin for your frog is vitamin A, as they cannot synthesize it on their own, and without it, they can suffer major health problems like rickets.
Commercial’ gut-load’ feeds like Nutrobal and Calci-dust can also be sprinkled onto live crickets before they are fed to give them a nutritional boost!
Yet, frogs will not last long on crickets alone, even if they are gut-loaded.
Like us, frogs thrive on a varied diet – the more diverse, the better.
For this reason, there are plenty of options to be considered for captive frogs, but generally, most are fed on a mix of crickets, worms, locusts, grasshoppers, and Dubia cockroaches.
Larger species will also readily take pinkie mice which can be bought frozen and then thawed before offering.
Can All Frogs Eat Crickets?
With over 4,800 known species worldwide, frogs are the most diverse amphibian on the planet. So there really is no ‘one size fits all approach when it comes to feeding.
Each species has its own set of specific dietary requirements, and it is essential that you do your research into the tailored needs of a particular species before deciding if it’s the right pet for you.
One of the most important considerations is the size of a frog’s mouth.
As a general rule, food items should be no larger than the width of a frog’s mouth to reduce choking risk.
Prey items larger than this can also get stuck in a frog’s intestines, causing them to become impacted, which can be fatal.
So even though crickets come in a range of sizes, they still may not be suitable for smaller species such as the African Dwarf Frog.
Despite being opportunistic feeders like their other froggy counterparts, there are very few creatures that will comfortably fit into an African Dwarf Frog’s mouth without causing harm.
Furthermore, as fully aquatic species, this frog is more suited to a diet of brine shrimp, krill, and bloodworm.
Some frogs will not even attempt to eat a prey item that is too large for them, and they will go hungry.
How Many Crickets Do Frogs Eat A Day?
In the wild, a frog’s diet is completely dependent on the available resources in its natural habitat, which can range from the dense rainforests of Madagascar to the open meadows of the UK.
Furthermore, most frog species are ‘sit and wait for predators’, meaning they wait for prey to come to them.
This may sound like a pretty lazy way to hunt, but frogs have become so adept at this skill that they are considered to be a keystone species, which means they play an important part in local ecosystems.
In simple terms, they keep insect populations in check!
Marsh frogs, found across Europe and parts of Asia, hunt night and day and are capable of eating the equivalent of 10-20% of their own bodyweight!
The North American Cricket Frog is even more impressive, devouring over 4,800 insects every year.
This equates to roughly thirteen per day! However, most wild frog species will consume 4-5 cricket or insect meals per day.
It is important to bear in mind that wild insects have been proven to contain more vitamins than captive-bred ones, and their availability varies across the seasons.
Wild frogs will stock up on food in the warmer months in preparation for hibernation through the winter.
Conversely, captive frogs are kept in conditions with stable warm temperatures all year round, so they are discouraged from hibernating.
This, combined with their insatiable appetite, means that captive frogs are at high risk of becoming obese and all the health problems that come with it.
Will Frogs Eat Dead Crickets?
Frogs are very unlikely to eat dead crickets as their hunting instincts are based on movement. So, if you like the idea of a frog as a pet, then you will need to be able to deal with live insects.
In fact, when it comes to frogs, the livelier and trickier, the better!
This makes jumpy insects like crickets and locusts a firm favorite.
It is possible to dangle dead prey in front of your frog using a pair of long-handled tweezers and mimic their movements, but not every frog will feed this way – it’s all down to personal preference.
The best way is to buy live insects and throw a couple at a time into the enclosure, just in front of your frog’s face.
This is the most natural way to feed a frog and the most interesting to watch! While we are on the topic, it’s good to understand how frogs feed.
Their tongues are very stretchy and display incredible flexibility; this gives them a significant advantage when it comes to snagging unsuspecting prey!
A frog’s tongue can stretch up to several times longer than the size of its mouth and hits its prey at a force 5x stronger than gravity!
Then, with the use of sticky saliva, the frog pulls the prey back into its mouth.
This process is so quick that the prey doesn’t even have a chance to escape.
When feeding, don’t be alarmed if you witness your frog closing its eyes with the prey still in its mouth.
Crazy fact – frogs actually use their eyes to help them swallow!
Their eyeballs sink down into their mouths and push whole prey items down the throat.
The idea of keeping live crickets in your house can seem a little daunting, but it is actually quite simple to do.
A clear plastic tub with a lid is an ideal enclosure but do make sure there are no holes as crickets are expert escapers!
You can glue or stick a sheet of paper towel under the lid to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Live crickets can easily be bought from virtually any pet store, although many people now choose to breed their own.
This is by far the most cost-effective option and allows you to be in control of what they eat.
However, do bear in mind that crickets can be very noisy and smelly, especially considering their short life span and notoriety as ‘opportunistic cannibals.’
Nonetheless, if looked after properly, crickets can become a welcomed and nutritious staple in your froggy companions’ diet.
How Many Crickets To Feed A Day?
A frog’s diet will depend entirely on its species and diet.
Smaller, more active frogs will naturally require more sustenance than a larger’ sit and wait’ predator that barely moves unless a meal walks past its’ face!
It is important to remember that certain frog species can go days or even weeks without eating (the latter is more common in larger sedentary species like Bullfrogs).
However, if you are concerned, then it is always best to seek the advice of a veterinarian.
Many owners find that their frogs will eat less in the winter months, which is thought to be an innate behavior related to their seasonal diet variations in the wild.
That being said, most frogs are ferocious eaters and will continue to eat even if they are full.
So, it is important for you to stick to a suitable feeding schedule that is tailored to a particular species and weigh your pet frequently to ensure they stay in the acceptable weight range.
As a general guide, though, most adult frogs are content with eating 3-4 crickets three times a week, with juvenile frogs needing to be fed every other day.
If you find your frog gobbles these up in a few minutes, then you can increase the daily amount by one cricket and see how they get on.
All food offered in one sitting should be eaten within 15 minutes; any longer than this, and you are probably overfeeding them.
It is recommended that you observe your frog-eating until he is done and remove any remaining crickets from the enclosure.
NEVER leave live crickets in your frog’s tank for them to eat later.
Crickets are surprisingly feisty insects and will not hesitate to give your frog a substantial bite!
These bites can sometimes cause serious harm, especially to smaller frog species.
It is also important to never feed your frog wild-caught crickets from the garden, as these come with a risk of pesticide exposure which can be detrimental to captive amphibians.
Crickets can and do eat crickets, but in the wild and when kept as pets in captivity.
But crickets should serve as just one food of many in a diverse, protein-rich diet.
Do bear in mind that the frog species will largely determine how often, the size, and how many crickets they can and should routinely eat.
Research is vital when for establishing or creating the best diet for any frog.