Both frogs and popcorn are found across the United States and the world at large – that’s probably where the similarities end. Frogs are amphibians that are sometimes kept as pets. Popcorn is a snack that can be seasoned in a variety of ways. But can frogs eat popcorn?
Frogs can eat popcorn if it is given to them but they should not eat it. For the most part, they are carnivorous and eat insects and small vertebrates. Popcorn is not part of a frog’s natural diet and doesn’t possess the nutrients necessary to keep a frog healthy.
In this article, we’ll discuss why you shouldn’t feed your frog popcorn. We’ll also take a look at what you should feed your frog instead.
Why Frogs Should Not Eat Popcorn?
Frogs should not eat popcorn as the ingredients in popcorn may not be suitable for a frog’s stomach. Being wild animals used to surviving on certain nutrients, popcorn may even be detrimental to a frog’s health in the long run.
While it’s still possible to feed popcorn to a frog, here are a few reasons why this is best avoided.
Popcorn Does Not Have the Right Nutrients for Frogs
While the diet of frogs may vary between species, most frogs require a nutrient-dense, high-protein diet. Unfortunately popcorn is anything but “nutrient-dense” and “high-protein”.
Frogs also require adequate vitamin A as their bodies don’t naturally produce it. Instead, frogs get this nutrient from the insects and bugs they eat. While some popcorn may contain traces of vitamin A, it’s not enough for a frog.
Popcorn Could Make Frogs Sick
Frogs are used to an all-natural diet and they eat what they catch out in the wild. Their stomachs are designed for protein-rich insects, and the highly-processed and seasoned flavors of popcorn can lead to an upset stomach.
Popcorn Is Not Safe for Frogs
While it may be fun to watch your frog snatch popcorn with its tongue, this food can be dangerous to them. A general rule of thumb is that what you feed a frog shouldn’t be bigger than the distance between the frog’s eyes.
Depending on the size of the frog, a kernel of popcorn could be much larger than what they can safely eat. Eating food that’s too big can lead to choking, illness, and even death.
Additionally, while the exterior of the popcorn is soft, the kernel inside is not. Have you ever gotten a kernel stuck in your throat while eating popcorn? Luckily, we can use our hands to extract the kernel from our throats. Frogs, on the other hand, can’t do the same, and if a piece of popcorn got stuck there they would choke.
What Do Frogs Eat?
The specifics of a frog’s diet will depend on the species of frog and its habitat, as well as the frog’s current stage of development. However, for the most part, frogs across species tend to have similar diets.
Adult frogs are carnivores, eating insects and tiny vertebrates for the most part. Newly hatched tadpoles are herbivorous and feed on plants, while slightly older tadpoles, between 6 and 12 weeks, are omnivores and eat a mix of plants and meat.
Tadpoles: 0–6 Weeks Old
When frogs are still tadpoles, they live exclusively in the water and have gills instead of lungs. While in their infancy, tadpoles are herbivores and their diet consists primarily of algae and decaying plant life. Thanks to their minute size, the food they eat needs to be small as well.
Tadpoles: 6–12 Weeks Old
This is the equivalent of the awkward, adolescent stage for a frog. While it still lives in water, its body is preparing for life on land. At this stage they often still have a tail, although shorter, along with hind legs.
During this in-between stage their diet turns more omnivorous. These tadpoles continue eating algae and decaying plants but start adding small insects and bugs to their diet.
If you’re keeping tadpoles at home, they should have the same type of diet they would in their natural habitat. Aim to feed them algae and decaying plants if possible, but boiled lettuce, spinach, and broccoli are also acceptable.
Once the tadpole’s gills are gone, it can no longer live in the water. At this stage, it’s considered a froglet.
For the most part, it will look like a frog but may have a bit of its tail left. Now that the froglet is living on land, its diet switches to being fully carnivorous. At this stage, frogs eat bugs, fish, and other frogs. As they are still young, their prey is a lot smaller than that of an adult frog.
Frogs go through a significant metamorphosis before they get to this phase. The tadpole tail disappears and is replaced by legs. Lungs are replaced by gills, and frogs can no longer breathe in the water.
Their digestive system has changed to accommodate their new diet. Tiny teeth used to eat plants are now gone in favor of new muscles that allow it to catch its prey.
As mentioned above, frogs are obligate carnivores. They catch their own food and prefer to eat it while it’s still alive. As an adult, they’ll eat larger versions of what they ate as a tadpole. This could include even birds, small mammals, and other frogs.
If frogs are kept as pets, their diet should be similar to what they would eat in the wild. They can be fed insects and worms, but their prey must be offered alive as frogs detest eating dead food.
Pet-owners may try “gut loading” the food to boost their frog’s nutrition. This involves feeding the insects certain nutrients a few hours before feeding them to your frog. This practice will give your frog additional nutrients that they may not be able to directly ingest.
When keeping a frog as a pet, it’s also crucial to consider the type of frog you have when choosing its food. For example, a poison dart frog prefers small bugs, while an American bullfrog eats spiders and small mice. Different species of frogs will also eat at different frequencies, so make sure you do your research before bringing your new friend home.
Frogs can eat a variety of foods, but popcorn isn’t one of them. Popcorn doesn’t offer frogs the protein and nutrients their body needs and can be dangerous for their health in the long run. Instead, stick to their preferred diet so you can keep your frog well-fed and happy.
Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn
Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details: