Why Is My Frog Not Eating?

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  • Post last modified:November 24, 2021
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It can be stressful when a pet’s behavior changes unexpectedly, especially when it involves a change in appetite. 

If your frog isn’t eating, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your frog is healthy and happy. Stress and illness are two of the main reasons why a frog may not be eating. To prevent your frog from getting stressed or sick, it is crucial to provide your pet with a proper diet and a clean, suitable habitat.

Understanding some of the main reasons why a frog won’t eat will help you determine the best next steps for your pet’s wellbeing. 


Six Reasons Why Your Frog Is Not Eating

Not Hungry

It is essential to know how often your frog needs to feed to be healthy. Most healthy adult frogs can easily survive a few weeks without feeding, so it may just be that your frog isn’t hungry. Conduct some research on your particular breed of frog to learn more about their everyday feeding habits. 

You can also talk to a specialist at a pet store or a veterinarian who has familiarity with frogs. Knowing how often your frog typically needs to feed will help you determine if they are just not in need of food at the moment or if another issue is going on. 

Wrong food

As a frog owner, you might also have wondered “do frogs eat worms?” or even “do frogs eat lizards?”.

It is essential to know the type of food that your frog prefers. Frogs prefer live prey; the movement stimulates their natural instincts to catch and eat the moving prey. If you are not feeding your frog live prey, this could be a reason why they are not eating. 

Amphibians also require a variety in their diet, and different breeds of frogs have varying nutritional requirements and diet preferences. Your frog may not be eating if it is not receiving the food that it needs or prefers.

Illness and stress

Stress and illness are two main reasons your frog may not be eating, and they may be interrelated issues. If a frog is ill, this can cause additional stress.

Additionally, a stressed frog is more susceptible to illness. Illness and stress feed off of one another in many animals and can cause a lot of problems. 

Is your frog exhibiting any other strange behavior besides not eating? If your frog is also lethargic or unable to flip itself back over from its back, these are two more behavioral signs that mean your frog may be ill. 

How does your frog look? If your frog has pale skin, skin that has changed colors, or skin with sores, tears, or new lumps, these are also signs of a sick frog. If you know your frog is sick, this is very likely the cause of its decreased appetite. It may not be the only cause, however.

Frogs can also be just stressed and not sick. Some common causes of stress in a pet frog are frequent handling, persistent loud noises, and a dirty or unsuitable environment. A stressed frog will be less willing to eat because it feels unsafe.

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Temperature or humidity issues

A frog’s environment is unsuitable if the temperature and humidity are not tailored to the species’ specific needs. Check the temperature and humidity of your frog’s environment to ensure that you meet your pet’s needs and not cause undue stress. 

Here are the temperature and humidity requirements for some of the most common breeds of pet frogs: 

Green Tree Frogs require an environmental temperature of 75-85°F during the day and 68°F during the night. They need 70-90% humidity in their enclosures.

South American Horned Frogs, or Pacman Frogs, require a temperature of 75-80°F during the day and 65-70°F during the night. They need 60-80% humidity in their environment.

African Bullfrogs require a temperature of 77- 82°F during the day, with a slight decrease during the night. Their optimal temperature is 75°F, and they need a humidity level of 80%.

Poison Dart Frogs need a temperature that falls between 70-80°F and a humidity level that always stays above 80%.

Amazon Milk Frogs have varying temperature needs, preferring access to warmer areas (80-85°F) and cooler areas (70-75°F) of their tank throughout the day. They prefer a lower temperature of 65-70°F at night. Ideal humidity levels range from 50-100%.

Brumation and Estivation 

In the wild, frogs and other amphibians brumate in the winter. Brumation is essentially hibernation for cold-blooded animals.

frogs and other amphibians brumate in the winter

Their bodies go into a period of dormancy, conserving energy and reducing the resources needed so that they can survive the winter. On the other hand, estivation is another type of physical dormancy that frogs can enter when the weather is too hot and dry.

In captivity, a frog may enter dormancy if there is a fluctuation in temperature, moisture, food availability, or visible light. If there was a recent significant change concerning one or more of these factors in your frog’s environment, it might have responded by going dormant. 

Not all breeds of frogs will go dormant in captivity, and even those that do may not ever go dormant. Both brumation and estivation are survival tricks that help frogs survive in extreme weather when food is scarce and lead to decreased movement and appetite.

Impaction

Impaction occurs in frogs when their digestive tract gets blocked. Certain substrates can make impaction more likely, as the frog can unintentionally swallow the substrate while eating its prey. 

If a frog experiences impaction, it may lose interest in food and water or lounge excessively in its water dish. Depending on the breed of your frog, it may be more or less susceptible to impaction, and you may be able to gently rub its tummy to help ease the flow of digestion. 


How Long Can Frogs Go Without Food?

The length of time that your frog can go without food largely depends on two factors: the age of your frog and the health of your frog. 

Frogs spend their early days as tadpoles, and in this stage, they can only survive one or two days without food. As they mature, they can go longer and longer without food. Young froglets still need food every two or three days, but adult frogs can go up to three or four weeks without a meal. 

These time frames are drastically reduced, however, if the frog is not healthy. A sick adult frog will only be able to survive one or two weeks without feeding. 

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If a frog has entered dormancy, it can survive even longer without food, but this also depends on the frog’s health. Healthy adult frogs can go months without food if they are dormant. 


How Can I Get My Frog To Eat?

To get your frog to eat again, take one or more of the following steps:

Ensure proper diet and feeding schedule

Check your frog’s preferred diet and feeding schedule. You can find information on your particular breed of frog online, or you can talk to a specialist at a pet store or a veterinarian.

This will give you a better sense of the nutrition that your frog requires, what food sources provide such nutrition, and how often your frog needs to feed to be considered healthy. 

If you are not providing live prey, try providing this to your frog. If you are only providing one type of food, try mixing it up with other sources of nutrition that are suitable for your frog. If you haven’t been feeding your frog on a regular schedule that fits their needs, change up the time you feed them, the frequency at which you provide them, or the amount of food you are feeding them.

Look for signs of illness and treat as needed

Check your frog for signs of illness and treat it with medication accordingly. If your frog looks increasingly unhealthy and exhibits other behavior changes besides not eating, it is likely ill. 

Illness is a common reason that a frog will refuse to eat. Once you can treat the illness, your frog’s appetite should return. 

Clean their habitat and check habitat factors

Clean your frog’s environment thoroughly by providing fresh substrate and water and removing all waste. You also may want to consider rearranging or simplifying their habitat. An unsuitable habitat can be a major source of stress in frogs. 

Check that the temperature and humidity of the tank are in the frog’s preferred range and correct as needed. Incorrect temperature and humidity ranges can lead to stress, illness, or both. 

If your frog is stressed, it could come from outside of the tank rather than inside the tank. This is especially true if your frog has been recently brought into your home. Covering one or more sides of the tank can help decrease any stress caused by factors outside of their tank.

Thoroughly cleaning their environment and checking and correcting habitat factors will aid in decreasing stress and assist in jumpstarting your frog’s appetite. 

Check for signs of impaction

Observe your frog’s behavior to see if it may be struggling with impaction. If you think this is the case, gather advice on treating impaction for your particular breed. After the impaction is resolved, your frog’s appetite should return. 


Next Steps

By taking the steps above, you can improve the health and wellness of your frog for the long term. If you find your frog still struggling to work up an appetite even after taking these steps, you may want to see a veterinarian to diagnose your frog and advise you further.