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How Long Can Pet Frogs Go Without Food & Water? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 10, 2023
white lipped tree frog


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

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

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Food and water are two of the most basic necessities of life: they are required for energy, nutrients, and most biological processes. As essential as they are, however, not every animal species needs constant access to food and water to survive. Frogs are one of the species that don’t need to eat every day to live. Adult frogs only need to be fed every 2-3 days and only a small amount of food each time. Healthy adult frogs could survive for 3-4 weeks without feeding, but you should never intentionally leave it this long. Constant access to water, however, is non-negotiable.

Keep reading to learn more about how often you should give pet frogs food and water.

new frog divider

How Long Are Frogs Able to Survive Without Food?

Generally speaking, healthy adult frogs may be able to survive without food for a maximum of three to four weeks, but that’s not to say that they will thrive without sustenance. Without food, their health and lifespan will be severely affected and they may even die.

The following three factors will determine the length of time a frog can live without food:

  • Their overall health
  • Their current stage of development
  • Their energy needs
Pinewoods treefrog
Image Credit: SunflowerMomma, Shutterstock

Overall Health

A well-fed and healthy frog in good physical shape can last longer without food than their unhealthier and poorly nourished counterparts. For example, a frog with a broken leg will use more energy doing basic daily tasks than a frog in good physical health.

Current Stage of Development

The frog’s age during the food shortage may be the most important determining factor in how long it can live without food.

Tadpoles

Even healthy tadpoles can typically only survive one to two days without food. This is because they need much nourishment while in this development phase. Tadpoles need much more energy than their adult counterparts, as their bodies are still going through metamorphic changes.

If tadpoles do not have access to the right foods in this critical stage of development, their growth may become stunted, and they may begin eating other tadpoles.

tadpoles close up
Image Credit: 14230021, Pixabay

Juveniles

Juvenile frogs also need a fair amount of nourishment. Like tadpoles, they’ll need much more energy than their adult counterparts as their bodies are still changing.

Juveniles in average health typically only survive a few days without access to food. Well-fed youngsters could live up to three days, but without access to food, the larger juveniles may begin feeding on the smaller ones. Frogs in this stage need to be fed at least once every other day until they’re around three years old and sexually mature.

Adult

Well-developed adult frogs may live one to two weeks without food, provided they’re of average health and had fairly consistent access to food before the shortage. However, after these two weeks, they’ll likely have used most of their food reserves and will be starving.

They might be able to survive up to three to four weeks without food if they’re healthy and kept well-fed before the food shortage. But this situation should be avoided by all means and frogs should be fed every two to three days.

Rio Grande Chirping Frog
Image Credit: Brett Hondow, Pixabay

Energy Needs

The frog’s size and species can also determine how long it will live without access to food. These factors will determine how much energy the frog needs to survive.

For example, an American Bullfrog is a large species requiring more food to live. These big frogs can eat invertebrates, birds, rodents, lizards, and even turtles. An American Bullfrog that has eaten well before a food shortage can easily go a week without eating. A much smaller counterpart, the Poison Dart Frog, needs to be fed more frequently due to its small size. Adult Poison Dart Frogs generally need to eat twice a week.

How Long Can Frogs Go Without Water?

While most healthy adult frogs can live without food for three to four weeks, the same doesn’t apply to water.

The length of time a frog can survive without water will depend on its habitat. For example, aquatic frogs can only live for a few hours without water, while their arboreal counterparts can survive up to 48 hours.

Wright Mountain Tree Frog
Image Credit: Jumpstory

What Do I Do If My Pet Frog Isn’t Eating?

If your pet frog is on a hunger strike, there are several things you can do to try and get it to eat again.

  • First, ensure you’re feeding it a proper diet for its species. Familiarize yourself with what your frog needs to eat and how often it needs to eat to stay healthy.
  • Next, consider offering live prey. Frogs, like humans, can get bored of the same food every day. Mixing things up by offering a new source of nutrition may be just what it needs to get interested in eating again.
  • Clean your frog’s habitat throughout. Remove all waste and provide new fresh substrate and water. You can also try rearranging or removing objects from the habitat, as an unsuitable environment can cause stress in frogs and make them less likely to eat.

If your pet still refuses to eat, look for signs of illness. A visit to your exotic vet should be in order if your frog is exhibiting unusual behaviors accompanied by this lack of interest in food.

Gray Tree Frog at night
Image Credit: Brett Hondow, Pixabay

new frog dividerFinal Thoughts

Like humans, pet frogs can survive longer without access to food than in the absence of water. However, having no access to food or water will be fatal. The length of time they can live without eating will depend on several factors, including their size, species, life stage, and general health.

As it turns out, water is just as essential a part of the frog’s existence as ours. Aquatic frogs can only survive a few hours without access to water, while arboreal frogs can live up to 48 hours.


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