If your frog is a picky eater or if you’ve ever been stuck waiting on a shipment of frog food, you may be wondering how long your frog can actually go without eating.
Healthy adult frogs can survive up to a month without food, but sickly mature frogs can only survive about half of that time. Young frogs have more voracious appetites and can only survive a few days without food.
The age, health, and size of a frog are crucial factors influencing how long it can survive without food.
Overfeeding or underfeeding frogs can lead to other health problems, so keep reading to find out how long your frog can go without food!
Three Factors That Affect How Long a Frog Can Go Without Food
Some frogs can go significantly longer than others without food. Primarily, three main factors can help you determine how long your frog can go between meals.
The age of your frog will be a strong determiner of how long your frog can last without food. In general, the younger your frog is, the more often it will need to eat to survive.
When frogs are still tadpoles, they must eat at least once or twice a day. If you are raising tadpoles and find leftover food, try feeding them less the next time you offer food, but keep offering them food at least once a day.
For tadpoles, it is best to provide them with smaller amounts of food more often. Tadpoles are omnivorous and commonly eat algae and other natural plant materials found in their environment.
Once tadpoles begin sprouting legs, you can offer small pieces of blanched vegetables like spinach or broccoli. You can also purchase pellet food specifically designed for tadpoles or begin to offer small insects.
As they grow, tadpoles need a consistent, nutritious food supply to develop properly. Tadpoles will reach maturity between 9-12 weeks and will then be considered young frogs.
Young frogs need to eat at least every 2-3 days to obtain enough protein and other nutrients. Your frog is considered a young frog if it is between the ages of 9-16 weeks old. They typically have fully developed legs and no tail, or only a tiny stub of a tail left.
Young frogs are still going through the essential stages of metamorphosis and require a steady food intake to sustain their growth.
Frogs in this life stage will be transitioning from an omnivorous lifestyle to a carnivorous one, and this transition will take some time.
You can offer your young frog small insects like worms and crickets a few times a week while still offering blanched vegetables.
It is important to be responsive to your frog’s eating habits. If you have a young frog and notice they still prefer plant-based foods, you can offer insects only once or twice a week while offering plant-based foods at least every other day.
After 16 weeks of age, a frog is considered an adult frog. Healthy adult frogs can survive up to 3-4 weeks without food if they need to.
Adult frogs do need to be fed more consistently than this for long-term health and survival, but in a difficult stretch, they can go 3-4 weeks before needing their next meal.
As a general rule of thumb, adult frogs should be getting the equivalent of at least ten crickets 2-3 times per week.
If you are waiting on a shipment of food or your adult frog is refusing to eat, there is a 3-4 week window where your frog can fast without cause for concern.
The length of time an adult frog can go without food depends on its last meal. If your frog had a pretty sizable last meal, it would take longer to digest and can go longer before its next meal.
The health of your frog will also play a substantial role in how long it can go without eating. If your frog has recently been sick or is currently unwell, a lack of food will likely lengthen your frog’s recovery time and may negatively impact your frog’s health.
A sick frog may lose its appetite, so if your frog has recently been sick, think back to how regularly your frog ate throughout its illness. If the answer is “not much,” then you will want to ensure your frog is getting the nutrition it needs now.
An unhealthy adult frog cannot go more than a week or two before its next meal without further detriment to its health.
Depending on the cause of illness, you may want to consider carefully force-feeding your sick frog. You should only ever force-feed your frog if the situation is dire.
If your frog really needs sustenance immediately but still refuses to eat, you can research how to force-feed a frog and choose the option that works best for your specific species.
The size of a frog will typically correlate with the size of its prey. Larger frogs are capable of eating larger prey, which takes longer to digest.
If you own a larger frog species and provide it with larger prey, the frog will be less affected by a few weeks without food.
Comparatively, smaller frogs are not able to eat larger prey like mice, and their smaller prey is digested more quickly. This means that smaller frogs are not full for as long and will need their next meal more quickly.
A large, healthy adult frog who recently had a big meal will be able to go the longest without food. You can think about your frog and the size of its last meal to determine how soon it will need to eat again.
What to do if you run out of food for your frog?
If you run out of food for your frog, the first thing to do is determine the last day and time that your frog ate. Then, you will need to determine when their food shipment will arrive or when you can run out and purchase more food.
If you have tadpoles, you can feed them with blanched vegetables that are chopped into small bits.
Tadpoles don’t necessarily need store-bought tadpole pellets and will be fine as long as they have access to high nutritious plant-based foods.
Young or sick frogs
If you have a young frog or a sick frog, you will need to make sure you can feed your frog within the next few days.
Young frogs and sick frogs both need nutrients ASAP, and there are a few things you can try to get live frog food in a pinch.
Quick access to frog food
First, you can try stopping by any local pet stores to see what is available. If you don’t have access to a nearby pet store, you can check online for other sellers and see how quickly they can ship live insects to you.
If the shipment times are too long, you can also post online to see if any local individuals have a stockpile of live insects.
If you have a healthy adult frog, you have up to 3-4 weeks and should be able to arrange a shipment or stop by a store by the time that period is up.
What can you do if your frog refuses to eat?
Sometimes, even when you have ample food available, your frog might refuse to eat. There are a variety of reasons as to why this might occur. Here’s what you can do if your frog is refusing food:
Try to determine the cause
This entails checking for signs of illness, impaction, hibernation, and estivation. It also entails cleaning the tank to see if this improves your frog’s appetite.
Monitor your frog’s physical appearance. If your frog’s skin has sores or loses coloration, these are warning signs of a larger problem.
If you notice any other physical changes, monitor the frog closely to see if it seems to be getting worse or better. This will help you determine the cause of your frog’s decreased appetite.
Monitor your frog’s activity levels. Check to see if your frog is exhibiting any strange behaviors or any substantial changes in your frog’s activity levels. This will help you determine the severity of your frog’s decreased appetite.
Keep a food diary for your frog
Keep track of each time you offer your frog food, the type and quantity of the food, and whether your frog eats or not. Try changing it up to see if your frog prefers certain food types or quantities.
Keeping a food diary for your frog will help rule out any dietary-based problems and give you a better idea of your frog’s preferences and habits.
Contact a veterinarian
Whenever possible, you should take your frog to a veterinarian familiar with treating frogs. A veterinarian will be able to provide more targeted advice regarding your frog’s health and appetite.