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How Long Can Toads Go Without Eating? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

a toad sleeping

Vet approved

Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Athena Gaffud

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There are some myths and misconceptions floating around the internet about the longevity of toads. Some people say that toads can go weeks or even months without eating. Some people believe that toads hibernate and do not need to eat on a regular basis. Like any good myth, there is some truth in these claims, but how much? How long can toads go without eating? Does it differ between wild toads or those kept by humans? How often should toads eat to stay healthy?

Toads can typically go without eating for several weeks to a couple of months, depending on factors like their size, health, and environmental conditions. This quick guide will breakdown everything you need to know about the fascinating eating habits of toads.

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How Long Can Toads Survive Without Food?

The length of time that a toad can survive without eating any food will depend on a number of factors, including the toad’s

  • Size
  • Age
  • Species
  • Habitat

It is also important to note that just because a toad can survive for multiple days or weeks without eating, that does not mean that it is preferable or good to do so. Toads that have not eaten in many days can become weak, restless, and susceptible to disease. These extremes are survival techniques, not ideal conditions.

Adult Toads

a sleeping toad
Image Credit: Danny Ye, Shutterstock

Adult toads can generally survive 2 weeks without eating any food, but healthy adult toads typically eat two to three times per week. Toads are opportunistic feeders, which means that if food is available, they will eat as much as possible in one sitting, because it does not know when, or how big, its next meal will be. If a toad is able to eat a lot in one night, it can go many days without needing to eat again. Since toads are opportunistic eaters, they are rarely picky. They will eat any number of bugs that are put in front of them in order to get the calories they need to survive.

Young Toads

Young toads need to eat more frequently than adult toads in order to keep fueling their growth and development. Very young toads need to eat one to three times a day, gradually reducing over time to every other day as they grow. That means that they cannot last as long without food. Young or juvenile toads can typically only go 1 week without eating before they start running into problems.

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Signs of Toad Malnutrition

Gulf coast toad on stump
Image Credit: Matthew R McClure, Shutterstock

If you are worried that your toad has gone too long without eating, there are some signs you can look out for. If your toad is suffering from starvation or malnutrition, they will start to present visible signs that you can interpret. Here are the signs of toad malnutrition that you need to be aware of. If your toad is exhibiting any of these signs, you need to change their diet plan right away and try and get your toad to eat. If they still do not eat, you might need to get them looked at by a veterinarian.

  • Weight loss, protruding bones
  • Lethargy or lack of normal movement
  • Change in regular behavior
  • Dull looking skin
  • Weakness or inability to hop properly
  • Seeming lack of interest in food

Do Not Overfeed Your Toad

Since toads are opportunistic eaters, they have a tendency to overeat if they are given the chance. If you offer your toad food every single day, or in large quantities, they can overeat due to their instincts. You should avoid overfeeding your toad, as doing so can lead to obesity and other health issues.

Offer Food Regularly

A European toad eating a worm
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

You need to offer your toad food regularly enough to keep them healthy, but you do not want to offer them food twice per day. Once per day or once every other day should be more than enough to get your toad to eat as much as they need without overeating, and without running into issues with malnutrition.

Small or young toads should be offered food on a daily basis. However, most large or adult toads can be offered food every other day in order to maintain their weight and dietary needs.

Ensure Your Toad Has Access to Proper Water

Another factor that determines how much a toad eats, and how long they can go without eating is the presence of clean water. Toads need clean drinking water, as well as clean water for soaking/bathing. If a toad does not have adequate access to water, it can affect their digestive system and lead to issues with eating. Toads need clean, preferably filtered, water in multiple places in their enclosure to facilitate healthy eating practices.

Some toads also enjoy the presence of a misting machine to increase humidity in their enclosures, but your exact species of toad will determine the necessity of such a device.

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Conclusion

Adult toads can go without eating for up to 2 weeks under normal situations. However, it is not desirable for a toad to go so long without food. Toads in the wild are opportunistic eaters, and they might not get a good meal every other day. Captive adult toads should eat every 2 to 3 days to maintain their health. Just because a toad can go weeks without food does not mean that they should. Toads do best when they have access to adequate water and food on a regular basis, just like any other animal.

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Featured Image Credit: Danny Ye, Shutterstock

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