Dart Frog Diet & Feeding Guide: [List Of Safe & Unsafe Foods]

Dart Frog Diet & Feeding Guide

Before starting to keep a dart frog as a pet, you need to know about their diet. No wonder, the diet of a dart frog in the wild isn’t as same as in captivity. Hence, you require a proper feeding guide with information on safe and unsafe foods for dart frogs.

The very first thing, you should know about dart frogs’ diet, is that they are insectivorous. So, they only eat small insects both in the wild and in captivity. But, the types of insects, which they consume, are different between the two places.

There must be other questions related dart frog diet in your mind. Don’t worry about the quantity of feeding, safe foods for your dart frogs, and so on.

In this article, I’ll present you with a complete feeding guide with their diet. So, Let’s go through this article without any further ado.

Owner: Tracy Madden

What Can I Feed My Dart Frogs?

Undoubtedly, any pet dart frog keeper concerns about safe foods for their frog. Among the varieties of options, you need to choose carefully the right foods for your dart frog.

The very first thing you should know is that dart frogs do not eat any insects over 1/8 inch. So, depending on the size and species, you can feed the insects of the following chart to your dart frog.

I’ve found the safe foods of the following chart for dart frogs, after researching for a while.

  • Melanogaster Fruit Flies
  • Springtails
  • Isopods
  • Bean Beetles
  • Rice Flour Beetles
  • Phoenix Worms
  • Pinhead Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Repti Worms
  • Hydei Fruit Flies
  • Calci Worms (larvae of the black soldier flies)
  • White Worms

Now, let’s go through the details of the dart frog diet.

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are kind of staple food for dart frogs. As they are super easy to culture, feed, and store, they are favorites of the dart frog keepers. Moreover, fruit flies are enriched with calcium, magnesium, and iron.

So, you can keep this food option in their diet. But, many people ask which fruit flies are right for your dart frog?

Generally, two fruit flies are used in the pet trade. They are – Melanogaster Fruit Flies and Hydei Fruit Flies.

These fruit flies are easy to culture and are about 1/16” long. You can easily feed melanogaster fruit flies to your young froglets and also the larger dart frogs.

These fruit flies are wingless because of a certain protein folding. So, you can imagine how an amazing source of protein they can be!

Hydei fruit flies are slightly larger than the melanogaster fruit flies. As a result, they contain a lot of protein. Besides being a good diet for dart frogs, they are the favorite of the frog keeper. Because their culture lasts over one month.

Owner: Tracy Madden


You can easily culture springtail with only a container of charcoal and rice. This small arthropod is perfect for dart frogs’ snacks in the list of their diet. But they lack some vital nutrients. So, Do not rely on this dart frog food solely.


Isopods are pretty softer and smaller than other prey in the list of dart frogs’ diet. Besides, they vary in color and size ranging from 3 to 30 mm. Especially, the adult dart frogs do not want to consume the Zebra isopods due to their large size.


You can easily access and buy crickets from any source. Again, culturing crickets is pretty expensive. On the other hand, their hard exoskeleton makes them unappealing to dart frogs.

Among varieties of crickets, you must choose only pinhead crickets or weak, old crickets. Pinhead crickets are small in size and full of nutrition. Certainly, pinhead crickets are a safe food in the dart frog diet.


Worms can be a healthy and nutritious diet for your dart frogs. Several kinds of worms such as phoenix worms, calciworms, repti worms, etc are a good treat for dart frogs.

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Moreover, phoenix worms don’t even need any supplemental dusting. Without any dusting, they’re highly enriched with calcium and phosphorus. To keep your dart frog healthy, you should keep phoenix worms in their diet.

If you want to feed mealworm to your dart frogs, I’ll highly recommend Fluker Gourmet-Style Mealworm. It contains of wholesome mealworms packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. Your dart frog should get crazy over it!

Bean Beetles

If you want a highly nutritious pack in your frogs’ diet, don’t forget to add bean beetles. Because they contain protein, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and so on.

Since we’ve got to know about the safe foods for dart frogs, let’s check out the unsafe foods also.

Owner: Tracy Madden

Which Foods Are Unsafe For My Dart Frogs?

There are no such foods that can directly harm your dart frogs. But, there are certain unsafe or unappealing foods. Let’s check the following points.

  • The dart frogs do not have teeth. Hence, they only swallow their food. For this reason, you must not give any insects which are larger than your dart frogs. Or, you can say that the alive foods over 1/8” are unsafe for dart frogs.
  • Never feed your dart frogs wild-caught insects. They contain high risks of pesticide or parasite exposure.
  • Large bugs can be harmful and unsafe to your dart frogs. Besides, there are risks of biting your dart frog before your frog swallows the bugs.
  • The commercial foods for other critters are unsafe for dart frogs. Don’t add them to their diet list.
  • Don’t feed human table scraps to your dart frog.

Will Dart Frogs Eat Dead Insects?

As I have stated before dart frogs are insectivorous, you might wonder if they eat both alive or dead insects.

Generally, dart frogs don’t eat dead insects. Because dart frogs do not eat any dead prey. You can give them only small, alive insects.

Even if the insects aren’t moving, your dart frog won’t touch it. So, live insects are the very first condition or requirement of their diet.

Owner: Tracy Madden

Do Poison Dart Frogs Eat Plants?

If you’re confused about whether dart frogs are herbivores or carnivores, let me remind you again. Poison dart frogs are simply insectivorous. That means dart frogs eat only insects.

Poison dart frogs do not eat plants. Again, tadpoles of maximum dart frog species are omnivorous. As a result, those tadpoles tend to eat algae like small plants.

Otherwise, all adult dart frogs tend to prey on various types of insects. They do not like to eat plants at all.

Do Dart Frogs Eat Slugs?

Dart frogs do eat and enjoy slugs.

The appropriate size of the slugs, as a food, depends on the frog size. As the slugs are slow-moving, they seem less appealing to dart frogs. Because the frogs tend to focus less on their foods which moves less.

Can Dart Frogs Eat Fruit?

Dart frogs tend to eat fruit flies happily. So, you can add it to their food diet.

Not to mention, it’s easy and inexpensive to culture fruit flies. They are small in size and healthy diet for dart frogs. Again, you can buy them from stores.

Owner: Tracy Madden

How Much Should I Feed My Dart Frog?

After knowing details about safe and unsafe foods for dart frogs, you should know the quantity too. So, only knowing about diet isn’t enough. If you’re thinking about how much you should feed your dart frog, it depends on several factors.

These factors are –

  • Size and age of your dart frog
  • Type of foods
  • Size of the live foods

Hence, I’ve gathered all the necessary information in the following chart. Many experienced frog keepers suggest feeding juveniles every day and 3-4 days to an adult frog. However, let’s take a quick look.

Adult Dart Frog Feeding Schedule

  Foods (Insects)  How Much You Should Feed
20-30  Hydei Fruit Flies  4-5 days in a week
20-30 Melanogaster Fruit Flies  same
5-10 week old cricketsOnce a week  
Phoenix Worms (as a treat)  Every other week or once in a month
Rice Flour Beetle Larvae (as a treat)  same
Wax Worms  Once in a month
Springtails  3 days in a week  

Juvenile Dart Frog Feeding Schedule

  Foods (Insects)    How Much You Should Feed  
  Melanogaster Fruit Flies20-25 per day or 40-50 every other day  
Hydei Fruit Flies  same
5-10 week old crickets  Three times a week
Springtails4-5 days in a week  
Isopods  4-5 days in a week
Rice Flour Beetle Larvae (monthly treat)  Once in a month
Phoenix or Wax Worms  Same

Although these are some basic guidelines, you need to notice your dart frogs. If you see many uneaten flies or foods, reduce the amount of food next time. Again, if your dart frogs finish all foods quickly, you should increase the amount at the next meal.

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So, determine the right amount and give a proper diet with accurate proportion to your dart frogs.

Owner: Jeana Kaplan Rawa

What Do Dart Frogs Eat In The Wild?

As I’ve explained the diet of dart frogs in captivity, you might be interested in taking a look into their diet in the wild.

Firstly, you can divide this diet into two sections. Because you’ll notice differences in the diet of tadpoles and adult fart frogs.

Some researches show that the female dart frogs tend to feed their unfertilized eggs to their tadpoles. Besides, these are a great source of protein and necessary nutrients for tadpoles.

Again, many tadpoles of dart frogs eat algae, which is plant food. Although dart frogs are strictly insectivorous, their tadpole phase makes their diet omnivorous. After growing into baby dart frogs, they start eating tiny insects as well as algae.

On the other hand, an adult dart frog eats around 14-15 prey items per hour. These prey items can be both eggs of insects and insects.

Usually, the dart frogs consume insects like ants, beetles, flies, mites, millipedes, etc. They catch their prey by using their long, sticky tongue.

What Do Dart Frogs Eat To Make Them Poisonous?

Since the dart frogs are exogenous, they can’t produce toxins by themselves. Rather, they store toxins from their food sources.

Now, if you look at dart frogs’ diet, you’ll notice only insects. For example – ants, mites, caterpillars, termites, beetles, flies, etc. Moreover, they tend to consume spiders and other arthropods.

The diet of dart frog mainly consists of insects. Either those insects are naturally toxic or those insects tend to eat poisonous plants. As a result, the dart frog can store toxins.

 Again, some species of them are so poisonous to kill a person within 10 minutes.

On the other hand, the pet dart frogs aren’t poisonous at all. Because the pet keepers do not usually provide those poisonous insects.

Owner: Garett Stumpf

How Long Can Dart Frogs Last Without Food?

You might have to go out for a week or more. Hence, a question comes to mind that how long dart frogs can last without food!

If you have fed your dart frogs well, they can go a week without food. Moreover, they can survive for 3-4 weeks without any food. But, for this, you should feed 10-12 full-grown crickets 2/3 times in a week.

So, don’t forget to feed your dart frogs well before leaving them without food for a long period. Otherwise, you can seed springtails, isopods, etc in their tank. They can catch those insects by themselves as their snack when you can’t feed them directly.

What Vitamins Do Dart Frogs Need?

The daily diet, which you give to your dart frog, doesn’t contain enough vitamins. If your dart frog faces a lack of vitamins, it’ll fall sick.

Dart frogs need calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A (Beta Carotene), Riboflavin, Thiamine, Biotin, Folic Acid, Niacin, Ascorbic acid, etc.

Moreover, dart frogs can’t produce some of those mentioned vitamins. So, it’s important to add vitamins to the diet of your dart frogs.

two yellow orange dart frogs
Owner: Garett Stumpf

Why Should I Need To Supplement?

To keep your dart frogs healthy, you should supplement their foods.

Usually, a dart frog keeper cultures the insects for food. Otherwise, people manage that food from stores.

However, these various kinds of foods do not contain all the necessary nutrients. Some are highly enriched with one nutrient but they can lack some vital ones. So, you should supplement the dart frog foods to fill up the lacking.

You can supplement with calcium two times a week. Besides, you should supplement multivitamins at least once a week.

can dart frogs eat mealworms?

Dart frogs are primarily insectivores, which means they eat small insects. However, mealworms are not typically a recommended food source for dart frogs. Mealworms have a high chitin content, which can be difficult for dart frogs to digest. Moreover, mealworms are larger and might be too big for smaller species of dart frogs to consume.

It is generally recommended to feed dart frogs a diet consisting of smaller insects such as fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster or Drosophila hydei) and springtails, which are more appropriate in size and nutritional content. These insects can be dusted with a calcium and vitamin supplement to ensure the frogs are getting a balanced diet.

Owner: Jamie Campbell

how often do dart frogs eat?

Dart frogs usually eat every day or every other day, depending on their age and size. Here is a general guideline:

  1. Juvenile Dart Frogs: Young dart frogs that are still growing require more frequent feeding. They should be fed daily to support their rapid growth and development.
  2. Adult Dart Frogs: Adult dart frogs do not grow as quickly, so they do not need to eat as often. Feeding them every other day or even every third day can be sufficient. However, many dart frog owners still choose to feed their adult frogs daily but in smaller quantities to ensure they are getting enough nutrients.
  3. Breeding Dart Frogs: If you are breeding dart frogs, it’s essential to provide the females with enough food to produce healthy eggs. This might mean increasing the feeding frequency or quantity of food.
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Regardless of their age, it’s important to monitor your frogs to ensure they are getting enough to eat but not becoming overweight. Adjust the feeding schedule and quantity as necessary based on their condition and consult with a veterinarian or expert if you have concerns about their diet or health.

Is a dart frog a carnivore?

Dart frogs are carnivores, which means they primarily feed on other animals, specifically small insects and invertebrates. In the wild, their diet mainly consists of small insects like ants, termites, fruit flies, and other tiny invertebrates. In captivity, they are commonly fed a diet of cultured fruit flies and springtails, which are small soil-dwelling arthropods.

Owner: Jamie Campbell

What is the best food for poison dart frogs?

The best food for poison dart frogs typically consists of small insects that are rich in nutrients. Here are some of the best food options for them:

  1. Fruit Flies: These are a staple in the diet of poison dart frogs. They are small and easy to culture at home. There are different species like Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila hydei, with the latter being slightly larger.
  2. Springtails: These are tiny soil-dwelling arthropods that are another excellent food source for dart frogs. They are also easy to culture at home.
  3. Isopods: These are small crustaceans that can be a good addition to the diet, providing variety and essential nutrients.
  4. Pinhead Crickets: For larger species of dart frogs, pinhead crickets can be a good food source, offering some variety in their diet.
  5. Micro Worms: These can be another source of food, especially for juvenile frogs. They are small and easy to digest.
  6. Supplements: In addition to these food sources, it’s essential to supplement the diet with calcium and vitamins to ensure the frogs are getting all the necessary nutrients.

Providing a variety of food sources is key to ensuring a balanced diet. Rotating between different types of food can help prevent nutritional deficiencies.

What do golden dart frogs eat?

Golden dart frogs, like other species of dart frogs, primarily feed on small insects and invertebrates. In the wild, their diet can include a variety of small insects, which contribute to the toxins they store in their skin. In captivity, their diet can consist of:

  1. Fruit Flies: These are a staple in the diet of golden dart frogs. They are small, easy to culture, and can be dusted with vitamin and mineral supplements to provide balanced nutrition.
  2. Springtails: These tiny soil-dwelling creatures are another excellent food source for golden dart frogs, providing necessary nutrients and variety in their diet.
  3. Micro Worms: These are small, easy-to-digest worms that can be a good food source, especially for juvenile frogs.
  4. Isopods: Small isopods can be included in their diet for variety and to provide essential nutrients.
  5. Supplements: It’s important to supplement the diet of golden dart frogs with calcium and vitamins to prevent nutritional deficiencies and ensure optimal health.
3 orange dart frogs
Owner: Jason Dias

what do poison dart frogs eat to make them poisonous?

Poison dart frogs accumulate their toxins from their diet in the wild. The specific components of their diet that contribute to their toxicity are alkaloids found in the small insects and arthropods they consume. Here’s a more detailed explanation:

  1. Alkaloid-Rich Insects: In the wild, poison dart frogs consume a variety of small insects that contain alkaloids, a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. These alkaloids are what make the frogs poisonous.
  2. Ants and Termites: These are believed to be significant contributors to the frogs’ toxicity. Many species of ants and termites contain alkaloids, which are then transferred to the frogs when consumed.
  3. Beetles: Certain species of beetles are also known to contain alkaloids, making them another potential source of toxins for the frogs.
  4. Other Small Invertebrates: Apart from ants, termites, and beetles, poison dart frogs also consume other small invertebrates that might contain these alkaloids, contributing to their toxicity.
  5. Biosynthesis of Toxins: Once ingested, the frogs are capable of storing these alkaloids in their skin glands, where they are modified into more potent toxins. This process of biosynthesis helps in enhancing the potency of the toxins.

In captivity, poison dart frogs are usually fed a diet of cultured insects like fruit flies, which do not contain these alkaloids, making captive-bred dart frogs non-toxic. It is the specialized diet in their natural habitat that allows them to accumulate and store these potent toxins in their skin.

Final Words

I hope this article has enlightened you with detailed information about dart frogs’ diet. There shouldn’t be any compromise with their diet to ensure their good health.

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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