Are Frogs Omnivores Or Not? (Decoding Frog’s Diet)

African bullfrog is carnivorous

Since the beginning of time, frogs, with over 500 species across the world, have been intriguing creatures. One of the common questions that often arises is, “Are frogs omnivores?” There isn’t a clear answer to this question. Some experts think frogs are true omnivores, while others think they are obligate carnivores.

The fact that frogs have been seen eating both plants and animals shows that they are omnivores, but not all frogs in their various stage of life are omnivores.

Frogs’ diet is varied and includes both plants and animals. However, the degree to which frogs eat animal and plant-based diets can vary between frog species and stages of life of the frog.

Almost all adult frogs are carnivores. Early-stage Tadpoles are primarily herbivores, while late-stage tadpoles and froglets are omnivores.

In this article, we’ll go on a journey to learn about frogs’ eating habits, including what they like to eat and their feeding habits with respect to their stages of life and the conclusion drawn from the widespread debates about whether frogs are Omnivores or Not.

You can also see what should i feed my pet tree frog?

Let’s get started!

Are Frogs Omnivores, Carnivores, or Herbivores?

The extent to which a frog can eat animals and plant-based diets varies between species, habitats, and stages of life of the frog.

To a large extent, tadpoles of frogs are herbivorous; they feed on algae and other aquatic plants. 

Tadpoles eventually develop into omnivores, meaning that in addition to eating plant matter, they will consume small insects and other animal protein as they continue to develop.

As soon as the tadpoles complete the process of metamorphosis and change into frogs, they are forced to consume meat as their only source of nutrition.

However, a few species of adult frogs are omnivorous, such as the Brazillian Tree Frog, which consumes fruits and seeds in addition to arthropods and insects.

What is an Omnivore?

An animal is considered an omnivore if it consumes plant and animal matter in its diet. This indicates that they can absorb material derived from plants and animals. Bears and raccoons are all examples of animals that are considered to be omnivores.

What is an Obligate Carnivore?

An animal is considered an obligatory carnivore if it must consume the flesh of other animals to maintain its existence. Wolves, lions, and tigers are all examples of obligated carnivores.

What is an herbivore?

Herbivore is an animal that eats plants. They include Deer, Cows, Horses, and Rabbits.

Frogs are classified as amphibians, meaning they spend time both in the water and on land.

Frogs begin their existence as aquatic tadpoles that develop into fully formed frogs. They will eat differently at each stage of development.

Why Frogs Are Considered Carnivores?

Because of their diet, frogs are classified as carnivores. Insects make up the bulk of their diet, although they will also consume worms, spiders, snails, and even tiny fish if necessary.

Even small mammals, birds, and reptiles are unsafe from bigger frogs.

Frogs are classified as carnivores for a number of reasons.

First, they have teeth adapted explicitly for gripping and holding prey.

The top jaw of a frog has small, sharp teeth used to clamp and keep the food in place before it is swallowed.

Secondly, frogs catch their food with their lengthy, sticky tongue. Frogs can rapidly launch their tongues because they are linked to the front of the mouth.

Frog Catching Cricket with Tongue

The frog’s tongue will attach to its target, and the frog will be able to bring the prey back into its mouth.

Finally, a frog’s digestive system is well-suited for breaking down meat.

Frogs have very acidic stomachs, which aid in the digestion of their prey.

Villi, which are fingerlike projections aiding nutrition absorption, line the frog’s intestines.

Frogs are primarily carnivorous, though species like the Izecksohn’s Brazilian tree frog do consume plants and fruits.

Everything from their nutrition to their teeth to their tongue to their digestive system is tailored to collecting and consuming prey.

Are Tadpoles Carnivores?

Most tadpoles are herbivores that consume algae and other forms of plant life. Some tadpoles, however, are obligate carnivores and feed only on other tadpoles, insects, and even tiny fish.

What a tadpole eats depends on what kind of frog it is and where it lives.

Tadpoles that live in ponds with abundant plant life are more likely to be herbivores, while tadpoles that live in temporary ponds or streams may be more likely to be carnivores.

Tadpoles do not yet have fully grown teeth, which is the primary reason why they are herbivorous in their early stages of development.

When tadpoles mature, they will start to acquire teeth and grow larger heads, then begin to hunt smaller animals as well.

Tadpoles have small, sharp teeth that are made to scrape algae and other plant matter off the bottom of the pond. Their stomachs are also made to break down plant matter.

They don’t move around as much as adult frogs. Tadpoles can’t move around as well as adult frogs, so it’s harder for them to catch prey.

The carnivorous tadpoles in the genus Ceratophrys are known for their wide, gaping mouths and huge appetites. These tadpoles will eat anything in their mouths, including other tadpoles, insects, and even small fish.

In general, tadpoles aren’t thought of as meat-eaters. But a few kinds of tadpoles eat meat, like the tadpoles of poison-dart frogs, which eat small invertebrates like worms, snails, and insect larvae. And these tadpoles can be very desperate for food.

Do Frogs Eat Plants and Vegetables?

If you are thinking about feeding your pet frog a diet of plants or vegetables, you should be aware that most adult frog species do not eat plants or vegetables, nor do they eat fruits. However, a few species of frogs can also consume plants and vegetables.

Frogs like the Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans), the Wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus), the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana), and the Gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor), among others, eat flowers or plant parts, aquatic plants, and algae while hunting. Some of them also eat fruits, nectar, and pollen.

Northern Cricket Frog
Northern Cricket Frog

What Do Frogs Eat?

A frog’s diet can differ significantly from one species to another depending on the area in which it lives.

On the other hand, most frog species are insectivores, which implies that they feed on insects.

Worms, spiders, snails, and even small fish are other usual prey items consumed by some frog species.

Larger frogs have been known to consume small mammals, birds, and even reptiles in their diet, so they are regarded as Obligate Carnivores.

Tadpoles are Omnivores in their first stage of life.

Tadpoles are essentially distinct from froglets and adult frogs because they are herbivores during the first stage of their development.

In the wild, these tadpoles, in their early stage, will typically feed on moss, algae, and phytoplankton.

Tadpoles transform into omnivores during the second stage of their tadpole development. This is one of the ways in which tadpoles are distinguished from froglets and adult frogs.

Frogs Are Obligate Carnivores

Both froglets and adult frogs are regarded as obligate carnivores, meaning they can only consume meat from other animals.

Live meat-based prey such as insects, spiders, ants, and mosquitoes, as well as worms, are consumed by frogs.

In general, frogs are opportunistic feeders, meaning that they will take whatever prey is readily accessible and easy for them to capture.

The diet of a particular species may change depending on the local ecosystem and the kinds of foods that are prevalent there.

Summary of What Frogs Eat

Are frogs indeed Omnivores, Carnivores, or Herbivores? Frog diets generally are based on their life stage and the frog species. To summarize this, below is a table of the different life stages of frog and their feeding habits.

Table showing different stages of life of a frog and their feeding habits

LIFE STAGEEarly Tadpole       Late Tadpole           FrogletAdult frog   
DIETHerbivoreOmnivoreObligate CarnivoreObligate Carnivore

List of What Frogs Eat

Regardless of the frog species or where they live, I will summaries below list of what frogs in their various stages of life eat.

Food sourceEarly Tadpole Late Tadpole               FrogletAdult frog               
Insects (Crickets, ants, grasshoppers, worms, flies)NOYESYESYES
Small Animals (birds, bats, mice )NONONOYES
Other Amphibians (snakes, Snails, slugs)NONONOYES
Aquatic plants               YESYESNONO
Fish eggs            NOYESYESYES

Factors Influencing Frog Diets

Frogs’ food choices are affected by several factors, including:

Habitat: The availability of prey and plants in a frog’s natural habitat dramatically impacts what it eats. For instance, frogs that live in water will mostly eat things that live in water, like insects, worms, and small fish. Most of the food that frogs that live on land, like insects, spiders, and snails, eat is also found on land.

Physiology: Some frog species are more likely to eat certain foods because of how their bodies work. For instance, frogs with long tongues are better at catching flying insects, while frogs with sticky tongues are better at catching crawling insects.

Life Stage: The nutrition of a frog typically shifts as it goes through the many stages of its life. For instance, tadpoles generally feed on plant stuff, but as they mature into adults, frogs prefer carnivorous diets and eat mostly meat.

Are there herbivore frogs?

To our knowledge, no herbivorous frogs exist. Most species of frogs consume meat, making them carnivores.

The Izecksohn’s Brazilian tree frog is the only known exception; it is an omnivore and consumes a wide range of plant matter, including fruits, flowers, and leaves. Like any other, this frog requires protein in its diet, and it gets it primarily from eating insects and other small animals.

Brazilian tree frog

Frogs that are herbivores are unknown for several reasons.

First, protein is essential for a frog’s development and growth. The protein they consume comes from the meat they consume.

Frogs, secondly, are equipped with a long, sticky tongue for catching insects.

They couldn’t use their tongue to pick up and chew vegetation.

Third, frogs’ digestive systems are tailored to break down animal products. They would have a hard time breaking down plant foods.


The question “Are frogs omnivores?” does not have a straightforward response that applies to all cases. While many frogs exhibit omnivorous tendencies, their diets can vary according to species, location, and life stage

One reasonable conclusion is that the way frogs eat changes a lot at different stages of their lives. You are correct that tadpoles are herbivores because they mostly eat algae and aquatic plants.

However, you cannot say the same about froglets and adult frogs, who eat primarily insects and other smaller animals.

So, you will be correct to say that adult frogs are obligated carnivores. But keep in mind that Wood frogs, American bullfrogs, Gray tree frogs, Brazilian tree frogs, and other adult frogs that live in places with a great deal of vegetation are more likely to eat plants, so these species of adult frogs can be said to be omnivores. 

Even though there is some disagreement about the feeding habits of frogs, there is no question that frogs are critical to the ecosystem.

They are an essential part of the food chain and play a vital role in it and help keep insect populations in check.

Frogs are bioindicators, meaning they can be used to measure the environment’s health.

I hope this article helped you answer your question if frogs are omnivores or not. You can also read about what health problems do tree frogs have? HERE