Tree frogs have a diet that is based on insects and worms; they are carnivorous animals and as such, need a good amount of live insects when they are kept in captivity. Smaller tree frogs might eat ants, however, it always pays to be careful since ants can bite and this could cause harm or stress to your frog.
Introduction to Do Tree Frogs Eat Ants
Tree frogs make excellent pets. There are several varieties but the most common ones that are kept in captivity are green tree frogs and red-eyed tree frogs. Both of these species are very small and as such, it can be easy to think that they might enjoy smaller insects as part of their diet.
In some cases, this is true. However, it is known that certain types of ants can cause more harm than good to your pet and these should always be avoided.
Depending on where you are in the world will depend on the type of ants that are available to you, but it is important to never offer wild ants to your pet, even if they aren’t a particularly dangerous species.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at whether you should feed ants to your tree frog and what alternatives there are to these abundant six-legged creatures.
What Do Tree Frogs Eat In The Wild?
Tree frogs can be found all over the world and depending on where they live, they may eat a vast variety of insects and small animals.
In the main, the diet of the tree frog will be made up of different insects. What these are will largely depend on the size of the frog. Some tree frogs can be as small as 7 mm, such as a new species that has been discovered in Papua New Guinea in recent years. At that size, it is little wonder that it has gone unnoticed for as long as it has.
Conversely, the largest type of tree frog can grow up to 14 cm which is relatively large compared to many species.
Regardless of their size, the favorites for many types of tree frogs include insects such as crickets, locusts, beetles, cockroaches, ants, flies, and moths. However, these animals do not exclusively eat insects. They can often be seen preying on small mammals if the size is right, small reptiles like snakes and lizards, and even other frogs. There is no denying that they aren’t fussy eaters.
Toxic Frogs That Eat Ants
You may have heard that some species of frog can be poisonous and unlike other things that bite or sting, a frog can poison you just by touching it. This is because they secrete a toxin through their skin. In this case, the frogs are usually brightly colored although there are frogs who have bright colors merely as a warning. That being said, it is important to avoid touching any type of frog if you think it might be poisonous.
These toxic frogs can actually be kept in captivity, and they may like to be fed ants. This is because, in the wild, these frogs eat a particular species of ant that causes them to create the toxin. When they do not have access to these ants in captivity, they don’t produce the toxin. So, as long as you aren’t offering formicine ants, there won’t be a problem.
Can I Give Ants To My Tree Frog?
Smaller tree frogs may enjoy ants, but this doesn’t always mean that this is a good staple part of their diet. Certainly, for larger frogs, the ants may simply not be enough but for any size, there is a risk that the ants may bite.
If you have ever been unfortunate enough to fall into an ant’s nest, you will know that these creatures have quite the nip. In the main, they aren’t dangerous to humans, although there are some species like the bulldog ant that could quite easily kill a man. Fortunately, these are only found in certain parts of Australia. Other species such as fire ants can affect the nervous system of humans and cause hallucinations, not to mention incredible pain.
If these types of ants can have such a sign on humans, it stands to reason that they would quickly kill your precious tree frog with a single string. Common sense would prevail and tell you to avoid these at all costs, even if the two species come from the same eco-system.
You might think that feeding regular black ants to your tree frog is a safe idea. However, while these likely won’t cause any significant harm, they could still bite your pet. If this happens, your frog will likely become stressed and this is not good for his health.
Furthermore, if you released a large portion of ants into the enclosure and they attack your frog, it is going to be something of a difficult task to get them all out again, owing to their small size.
Ants are not normally sold at pet stores where you may see a selection of other insects on sale, so this would tell you that they are not a portion of suitable food for your tree frog.
What To Feed Pet Tree Frogs
With ants out of the question, you may be wondered what types of insect you can give to your tree frog. Since these animals are carnivores, which means they exclusively eat meat, you cannot offer fruits and veggies like you would with some other exotic pets.
But this doesn’t mean that your frog should have a boring diet; far from it, there are many insects and worms that your frog will love to feast on.
Crickets are the most common insects and can be found in almost every pet store in the world. They are inexpensive and, provided that they have been dusted with calcium, will provide your frog with all the nutrition he needs to thrive. That being said, you might want to stop him from getting bored with the same meal over and over.
If this is the case, you might offer your frog a selection of worms. Keep in mind that there are some worms that might be too big for your tree frog. It is important to use your common sense to figure out if the worms will be the correct size. There are a lot of different worms in pet stores, but the best options for tree frogs are mealworms, red wrigglers, and wax worms.
However, you should keep in mind that worms should be offered as a treat rather than a diet staple since they may not contain all of the nutrients that your frog needs and could contain a lot of fat. It is not uncommon for tree frogs to become obese, partly because they are opportunistic hunters and will eat anything they find, not stopping until the food source runs out, and partly because of poor diet choices by owners.
Cockroaches are another excellent choice for tree frogs as they have great levels of proteins and other important nutrients that you frog needs. However, it is a good idea to choose juvenile roaches since these will have a softer body which is easier for your frog to eat. What’s more, some of the adult cockroaches can get quite large and this can be too much of a challenge for smaller tree frogs.
What Insects To Avoid
We have established that ants are not a great choice for your tree frog as they may bite. But these are not the only insects that you should avoid feeding to your pet.
Anything that is too large should be given a wide berth. In addition to this, there are some insects that your tree frog may not be able to digest as easily. These can include but are certainly not limited to ladybirds, stink bugs, and praying mantis. This is because of the hard shells on these creatures.
Furthermore, you should never collect insects from outdoors to use as food for your pet. Not only will they not have been gut-loaded but they may also have parasites and bacteria that could cause harm to your frog. In addition to this, wild-caught insects may have fed on plants that have been sprayed with a chemical and these would then be transferred to your frog.
If you want to be a little more thrifty, instead of hunting for insects outside, it is entirely possible to breed your own colony and have a constant food source on hand.
Tree frogs need a diet filled with insects and a lot of people are under the impression that ants would make a good meal for their pet. Your tree frog might have a go at eating ants and might even enjoy them but they might have to go through a battle to even get this far.
Ants can bite and in some cases can even be poisonous, therefore, it is never a good idea to offer them to your tree frog. That being said, there are lots of tasty alternatives such as mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and roaches that your frog is sure to love.