Frogs are beneficial to any garden because they will eat insects and pests that can cause destruction to garden plants, and the concern rises of whether or not frogs will eat plants, particularly in the garden.
Frogs will eat easily accessible plants which are soft and easily digested. These plants will include aquatic plants, cabbage, lettuce, kale, and watercress. Plants will provide frogs with the nutrients that are not available from eating insects.
Frogs love to eat live insects that can cause damage to plants. However, the question arises of whether the frogs will turn on garden plants after the insect stock is depleted or will they just go away.
This article will explain what plants frogs eat, the benefits of having them around in the garden, and all the in-betweens.
What Do Frogs Like to Eat?
Frogs are amphibians, meaning they spend part of their lives swimming in water and part of their lives living on land. They have four legs, webbed feet, and a tail. Most species lay eggs and give birth to live young.
Most frogs eat a carnivorous or omnivorous diet that primarily consists of insect larvae, mollusk shells, worms, snails, spiders, fish, and sometimes small vertebrates like lizards and snakes. Adult frogs rarely consume meat, and it is rare to see a frog eating carrion.
On average, frogs prefer live food over dead food, and adults almost never eat carrions. But there are exceptions; some frogs will eat dead animals if they’re around, such as feeding on decaying carcasses or finding a dead bird or mammal while hunting.
Frogs will go through a period of herbivory where they eat mainly plants. This is called metamorphosis, which happens during the larval stage of development.
For example, many salamanders feed on aquatic vegetation, and certain tree frogs develop into leaf-eating adults.
Tadpoles and young frogs are born in water, where there is plenty of food. The food is mostly algae found in ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams.
As the tadpole grows, it eats some algae. After a few days, it stops eating algae and starts eating the roots and stems of aquatic plants.
It continues growing until it becomes a frog. Frogs have four legs, webbed feet, eyes, and a tail. They are much larger than tadpoles, and their diet will change, and as a result, they will be able to consume larger plants.
What Plants do Frogs Eat?
Why Do Frogs Eat Plants
Frogs are omnivores. They get their energy from both insects and plants. When frogs eat leaves, they get vitamins and nutrients that they would not have gotten from insects which are only available from eating plants.
However, there are some dangers when frogs do eat plants. Some plants can harbor pesticides and other insecticides. When these plants are eaten, it can cause almost certain illnesses to the frog, which can eventually die.
If you don’t use pesticides in your garden, there may be little cause for concern.
Do Frogs Eat Flowers?
While frogs predominantly consume insects and other small invertebrates, a few species might occasionally ingest flowers or plant matter.
While it is uncommon for frogs to eat flowers, some American ground frogs may incidentally consume plant matter while hunting for insects.
Here are a few examples of ground-dwelling frogs native to the United States, although it’s important to note that their primary diet still consists of insects and other small invertebrates:
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus):
This large, aggressive frog is found throughout the United States.
It is known for its voracious appetite and may eat a wide variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, birds, and other amphibians. Incidental consumption of flowers or plant matter could occur while hunting.
Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens):
Commonly found in the northern United States, this species is characterized by its distinctive green or brown coloration with dark, rounded spots.
They primarily feed on insects, worms, and small aquatic animals but may occasionally ingest plant matter by accident.
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus):
Found in forested areas throughout the United States, this frog is known for its ability to withstand freezing temperatures.
Their primary diet consists of insects, spiders, and slugs, but they may consume small amounts of flowers or plant material while hunting.
Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus):
Similar in appearance to the Northern Leopard Frog, this species is found in the southeastern United States.
They are known to be opportunistic feeders, primarily consuming insects and other small invertebrates. Occasional ingestion of flowers or plant matter could occur while hunting.
Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii):
Despite its name, this species is a true frog native to the eastern United States. It has a unique spade-like structure on its hind feet, which it uses for burrowing.
Its diet mainly consists of insects, but it may consume small amounts of plant matter.
Remember that these frogs primarily eat insects and other invertebrates, and any consumption of flowers or plant matter would be incidental and uncommon.
Do Frogs Eat Leaves?
Frogs, including the American ground frogs mentioned earlier, primarily consume insects and other small invertebrates as their main food source.
While hunting for insects, they can occasionally consume small amounts of plant matter, such as leaves or leafy greens, while hunting for insects, this is not a significant or regular part of their diet.
As opportunistic feeders, frogs focus on catching and eating prey that provides them with the necessary nutrients for survival, predominantly found in insects and other small invertebrates.
Consuming leaves or leafy greens is not a typical feeding behavior for frogs, as they do not receive the same nutritional benefits from plant matter as they do from their primary prey.
Benefits of Having Frogs in the Gardens
Frogs are among the most abundant amphibians in North America. They are found throughout much of the United States and Canada, where they live in ponds, lakes, streams, marshes, swamps, and wetlands.
Most species spend their entire lives in water, although some do venture onto land during certain times of the year. Some species are capable of jumping great distances to navigate overland obstacles such as logs, rocks, and fences.
Several species of frogs feed primarily on invertebrates like insects, spiders, worms, snails, slugs, millipedes, centipedes, crayfish, and small fish.
Many frogs are carnivorous, eating small vertebrate animals, including tadpoles, lizards, snakes, birds, bats, rodents, and occasionally young mammals.
The presence of frogs can help reduce insect problems in ponds and gardens. In addition to consuming pests directly, frogs consume eggs, larvae, and pupae, thereby reducing the number of adults. This is especially beneficial in ponds with high levels of aquatic vegetation since it reduces competition for food resources.
A single frog can eat thousands or even hundreds of thousands of insects in a season. During the summer months, adult frogs can consume large quantities of insects each day. One study showed that one male bullfrog could consume up to 1,000 mosquito nymphs per hour!
Insect populations can be reduced by 50% or more when frogs are present. This is because frogs eat many different types of insects, and therefore there are fewer individuals available to reproduce.
5 Ways to Attract Frogs to Your Yard or Garden
Toads aren’t generally considered cute, but some species are actually quite beautiful. Garden toads are one such example, and they’re known for being able to survive in harsh conditions. They even eat insects that most people consider pests.
1. Create shelters
Frogs and toads don’t like sunlight, so it’s best to keep them away from it. If you want to provide some shade for them, find an area where water flows over rock, such as along a stream bank. This is called a riffle zone.
You can create a simple shelter by arranging stones into a pile or creating a shallow depression. Make sure the edges are rounded off to protect against predators.
A well-placed pot filled with damp soil works great. Place it outside the shelter and fill it halfway with moist sand. Use pebbles to cover the bottom of the pot.
Try making a little cave if you want to go beyond a simple shelter. Create a hole in the ground about 2 feet deep and 4 inches wide, and cover it with pieces of wood.
Fill the hole with wet leaves and grasses. Add a few large rocks around the perimeter to help keep animals out.
2. Use Native Plants
Native plants offer habitats to natural bug populations, which are a gardener’s best friend. In fact, many gardeners report seeing fewer pest problems once they’ve adopted a native plant strategy.
3. Plant Bushy Plants
Plants also provide toads with the shelter to hide from predators. If you want to attract toads to your yard, ensure there are plenty of areas where they can find cover.
This could mean creating a brush pile or rock pile or planting shrubs and trees around your home.
4. Don’t Use Chemicals or Pesticides.
Also, eliminate the use of chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers because they can kill toads outright.
Pesticides kill bugs, so if you want to attract toadstools to your yard, don’t use pesticides. Instead, ensure you keep your lawn free of weeds and grasses by using a weed killer that contains no harmful chemicals.
Instead, try growing native plants that will naturally control pests.
5. Give More Than Just a Bare Lawn
A bare lawn won’t help toads, but natural gardens filled with native plants will increase the chances of attracting them.
Frogs will be attracted to plants they are accustomed to. Remember, these animals are the wildlife that surrounds the natural habitat of your home and community, so they would be less hesitant to move towards plants they know.
6 Plants to Attract Frogs to Your Garden
Frogs can be very helpful in the garden. A frog in the garden does not mean you have to give up gardening.
There are many ways to use frogs in a garden. You just need to know how to attract them.
Here are Six plants that frogs like:
1. Hosta – These hostas are great because they grow quickly and come in different colors.
2. Ferns – Although much larger than frogs, ferns provide shelter from the elements.
3. Liriope – This plant grows fast and looks lovely in the summer, and as its love down to the ground can harbor many insects that frogs love to eat.
4. Hydrangeas – These flowers bloom throughout the year and are great for attracting butterflies.
5. Shrubs – Again, like other larger plants, it provides a hiding ground from the elements, especially the hot sun.
6. Water Lily – These plants are soft and tasty and float on top of the water, where they are easily accessible to frogs.
The Dangers of Having Frogs Around
Curious pets can come into contact with toads and frogs, and the results are often not that good for the pets as the toxins from the frog severely affect the pet’s health.
Frogs, mainly toads, secrete a toxic chemical called bufotoxin when stressed which is a poisonous substance meant to make the toad unpalatable to potential predators.
Frogs Can Harm Dogs and Cats
Small dogs and cats can easily become susceptible to toad poisoning from their playfulness with the frogs.
Unfortunately, frogs do not see any larger animal than themselves as friends, and as a stress response or defense, they will secret toxins that will cause the pet to get sick quickly if they come into close contact.
Frogs can Kill Fish
If you have fishes in low-lying ponds close to the garden, then they too can be at risk. Fishes can be killed by frogs when they share the same space because they release toxins.
Fishes will not stand a chance with a stressed frog within the same environment.
This chemical is dangerous to many small animals, including fish, and can kill an entire fish population.