Frogs are natural predators that are attracted to the movement of their prey. In the wild, a frog will eat almost any live prey it can fit into its mouth, worms included. Captive frogs also enjoy a tasty worm meal, and worms can be a great source of nutrition for wild and captive frogs alike.
Frogs can and do eat worms, but not all worms are beneficial for frogs.
New and seasoned frog owners should be aware of the types of worms that can be fed to frogs and the types of worms that should be avoided. When the right worms are selected, a captive frog can reap significant benefits from a worm-infused diet.
If you want to add worms to your frog’s diet, you will want to know the nutritional benefits and potential dangers of the various worm options. Let’s dive in to learn more about adding worms to your frog’s diet!
What types of worms do frogs eat?
The good news is there are a lot of nutritious worms out there that you can safely feed your frog. However, it is not just the type of worm that matters, but the size of the worm, too.
Let’s take a look at the top nine types of worms you can feed to your frog!
Earthworms & Nightcrawlers (Lumbricus terrestris)
Earthworms are a highly nutritious food source for frogs, packed with protein, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. These worms come in many different sizes, but smaller worms are typically better for a frog.
The quality of the earthworms will depend on what they were fed, so it is essential to get your worms from a reliable source that uses ethical practices. The better the worms were cared for, the more nutritious they will be for your frog.
In general, earthworms do better in temperatures below 70 degrees. If your frog’s tank is above 70 degrees, it is important to keep track of any worms that are not immediately eaten. You don’t want the worms to die and be left to rot in your frog’s terrarium since rotting worms would create an unhealthy tank environment.
Nightcrawlers are simply large earthworms, and these larger worms are more suitable for larger frogs. Even still, it’s a good idea to break large worms up into multiple pieces for your frog.
Up next, we have Silkworms, which are highly nutritious, easily digestible soft-bodied worms. They are low in fat and high in protein, making them an excellent snack for a frog. These worms are also a great source of Vitamin B, calcium, and magnesium.
Such nutrients make silkworms a great option for frogs, especially immunocompromised ones. Studies have found that sick frogs tend to bounce back sooner when fed a nutrient-dense diet. Silkworms are a great source of nutrition and can be a great staple worm for a frog.
If you do decide to use silkworms as a staple, remember to continue to offer your frog other food sources as well. This will help your frog to receive all the nutrition it needs to be healthy.
Hornworms (Manduca sexta)
Like Silkworms, Hornworms are also nutritious soft-bodied worms high in protein and calcium. However, hornworms grow quickly and can easily become too large for certain frogs.
The bright green color of hornworms will capture the attention of hungry frogs, stimulating their natural predator response.
Hornworms are named for the horn on the back of their tails, which is used to defend themselves. These worms can also bite, which may deter your frog from eating them. Larger frogs will likely be less bothered and more capable of eating the bigger meal.
Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)
The next worm on our list is the mealworm. Mealworms have less diversity in their nutritional profile when compared to other worms, but they are high in protein, fat, and phosphorus. These worms have an outer shell called an exoskeleton, making mealworms more difficult to digest than other softer worms.
While mealworms are a safe worm option for your frog, you will want to avoid overfeeding. Because of their shells, there is a risk of impaction if your frog is fed too many mealworms.
These worms are also not the most nutritious when compared to other worm options.
Waxworms (Galleria mellonella)
Waxworms are well known for their high-fat content, and their protein content is less than that of earthworms, silkworms, hornworms, and mealworms.
Because of their high-fat content, waxworms should be treated as a snack for your frog instead of regular meals. If you feed your frog too many waxworms, there is a risk that the frog could grow obese.
Pacman frogs and bullfrogs are notorious for absolutely loving these fat grubs. As larger frogs, they thrive on the higher fat content of waxworms for their essential energy and are at a lower risk of overdoing it and becoming unhealthily fat.
Butterworms (Chilecomadia moorei)
With the word “butter” in the name, it comes as no surprise that butterworms are also high in fat. Butterworms typically have the same amount of fat or slightly less fat than waxworms.
This means that you should also feed butterworms as a snack or a treat and that you should not regularly feed these to your frog.
Compared to waxworms, butterworms are a better source of both calcium and phosphorus.
Phoenix Worms & Calci-worms (Hermetia illucens)
Phoenix worms are also known as Calci-worms. They are Black Soldier Fly Larvae, and they have an exoskeleton that can make them more challenging to eat.
Some people suggest poking a hole in their shell to aid in digestion. If you have a smaller frog or a frog with a history of impaction, you may want to avoid phoenix worms.
These worms fall in the middle range for fat content and protein content, but they are particularly high in calcium. You can get Phoenix worms in various sizes, and it is best to use a feeding station that they can’t crawl out of.
Superworms (Zophobas morio)
Superworms are also commonly called Morio Worms, King Worms, and Zophobas, and these little creatures aren’t worms at all. Like mealworms and phoenix worms, superworms are beetle larvae.
As far as their nutrient profile, superworms have similar protein levels to mealworms, but their calcium, fat, and fiber levels are higher. Given their higher fat content, superworms are best used as a snack or a treat for your frog.
On average, superworms are about five times larger than mealworms. Their size and outer shell make them a risky choice for small to medium-sized frogs. Even for larger frogs, there is a risk of impaction because of the harder exoskeleton of the superworms.
Superworms also have the potential to bite or sting, so you may want to avoid them if you are afraid of this.
The last worm on our list of best worms for frogs is the bloodworm. Bloodworms are the larvae of non-biting midge flies and are a good source of iron.
The protein levels can vary based on what the worms were fed, but they are generally considered to contain an average amount of protein.
You can buy live bloodworms or freeze-dried bloodworms, but live worms are always a better option when it comes to feeding a frog. This is because of their natural instincts to avoid eating dead organisms.
Are there worms frogs should not eat?
Even though there are plenty of worms you can feed your frog, there are also some worms that should simply be avoided. Certain worms can be toxic and even deadly for your frog. Let’s look at which worms you should never feed your frog.
Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida)
Red Wigglers are poisonous for certain breeds of amphibians and are best avoided. There isn’t any proof that the toxic won’t hurt a frog, so I’d rather err on the safe side. Unfortunately, some pet stores and websites mislabel Red Wigglers, so buying from a reputable source is imperative.
If you have offered red wigglers before, check out our article: “Why is my frog not eating?” for more insight.
On top of being toxic, many frogs are disgusted by the taste of red wigglers and will actively spit them out instead of swallowing them. Some frog owners have found that once their frog tried a red wiggler, they refused to eat any other worm.
You don’t want your frog to associate all worms with the bad taste and toxic secretions of red wigglers. For the health and safety of your frog, steer clear of red wigglers.
Too Big Worms
Worms that are too big should never be fed to your frog. Frogs can choke on prey that is too large. Additionally, there is the risk your frog may become impacted if it does swallow unsuitably large prey.
How big is too big? It completely depends on the size of your frog.
There are a few general guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you are feeding your frog appropriately sized worms. First, you need to avoid any worms that are longer than about one-third of your frog’s body. Long worms can complicate or disrupt your frog’s digestion in dangerous ways.
Second, you need to avoid worms that are thicker than the distance between your frog’s eyes. Worms that are too girthy can be difficult or impossible for your frog to swallow, and they can lead to impaction.
Some worms can be broken into smaller pieces to aid with digestion. However, this can take away from the overall nutrition of the meal. When a frog only eats a few pieces of a worm instead of the whole thing, it will miss out on the full spectrum of nutrients.
Wild worms should be avoided because they come from an uncontrolled environment. Pesticides and parasites are the most serious concern when it comes to wild worms.
Unfortunately, both pesticides and parasites are present in most natural environments. If your frog were to eat a wild worm, it could contract a parasite or absorb toxic chemicals, both of which could lead to illness or death. Furthermore, wild worms can ingest organic material that is incompatible with your species of frog.
With wild worms, there is no way to know what they have been eating. So, you have no idea what harmful substances you could be introducing to your frog. Comparatively, commercial worm farms offer a controlled environment where the worms are fed a regular, nutritious diet void of pesticides.
Frogs have a natural instinct to avoid eating dead prey. In the wild, a dead organism could easily be disease-ridden or toxic. Live prey is safer and healthier for a frog to eat, so they are more likely to prefer active and lively prey.
There are two main reasons to avoid giving your frog any dead worms. The first one is that your frog will most likely not show any interest in the dead worms anyway.
Frogs are attracted to prey that wriggles, crawls, flies, and jumps. Without any movement, your frog will simply not want to eat a worm that is dead.
The second main reason is that dead organisms can bring disease and create an unhealthy environment. Dead worms will decay very quickly and be inedible. Your frog could get sick if it does eat a dead worm, and if it doesn’t eat it, the dead worm will negatively affect the frog’s environment.
Which worms do frogs prefer?
How do you know which worms your frog actually prefers? Frogs will crave foods that satisfy their nutritional needs and stimulate their natural predator response. Worms that are high in protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals are the most appealing to frogs.
Like humans, frogs can crave food sources that are high in fat, like waxworms and butterworms. This is especially true of larger frogs who need more food to sustain themselves.
Frogs also prefer active prey, so worms that wriggle and crawl will be more likely to attract a frog’s attention.
Can I feed my frog ONLY worms?
While your frog could survive on a singular food source, this is not recommended. Worms that are highly nutritious and low in fat can work as a staple in your frog’s diet, but variety is essential for your frog’s overall health and wellness.
That being said, you can reasonably offer your frog a few different types of worms to maintain a worm-only diet while also providing your frog with the essential dietary variety it needs.
To decide which worms will work best as a staple, you need to consider the size, structure, and nutritional profile of your various worm options. When appropriately selected, you can provide your frog with a well-rounded diet by only using worms.
How should I feed worms to my frog?
Two of the main ways to feed worms to your frog are to (i) use a feeding station and (ii) use tongs.
A feeding station is a small dish used to keep your frog’s prey in a common place. Typically, a piece of fruit is placed in the feeding station to attract the prey and keep them from wandering to all corners of the terrarium.
Using a feeding station can help you keep track of how much your frog has eaten, and it can prevent worms from disappearing into the substrate before your frog has a chance to find them.
Alternatively, you can hand-feed worms to your frog or use tongs. Tongs are especially useful for feeding larger frogs.
Whichever method you use, you want to ensure you are serving your frog highly nutritious worms. Some people will advocate for using dusting methods to supplement your frog’s diet, but it is a better option to offer high-quality food sources in the first place.
Dusting is best avoided because there is little evidence this method is actually effective in successfully supplementing your frog’s diet.
Where can I buy live worms for my frog?
Pet stores are a reliable place to purchase live worms for your frog, but you can also buy live worms online. Here are two online sources you can check out!
- KBM Feeders sells Phoenix worms on Amazon for an affordable price. They include high-quality packaging and fast shipping as well.
- DPD Pet Store sells waxworms on Amazon, and they include a “Live Arrival Guarantee.” If you receive dead worms, you can send a picture to the company, and they will send a new batch free of charge.
These are just two of many options out there! Once you find a live worm provider that you like, you can set up a regular shipping schedule so that your frog always has the food that it needs.
Remember that variety is important when it comes to feeding your frog. Decide on a nutritious staple food for your frog, and then decide what other food sources you will use to add variety to your frog’s menu.
Taking these fundamental steps will add quality and longevity to your frog’s life!