How Does a Toad Catch Food?

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How Does a Toad Catch Food?
How Does a Toad Catch Food? (Image: Jade Colley)

Looking for Prey

Toads are not vegetarians so they search for living prey. Most commonly, toads eat small insects and animals. Toads will look for crickets, spiders, worms, caterpillars, tiny fish and flies. The prey must be within reach of the toad's tongue in order for the toad to capture it. This means that the toad must sit still and let the prey come to it, instead of hunting the prey out like many animals do.

Catching Food

Toads catch food with their long skinny tongues. Human tongues are attached at the back end of their mouths, but toads' tongues are actually attached to the front of their mouths. This gives them more of an extension so that they can reach farther to surprise their prey. They whip their tongues out when their prey walks by, and then they curl their tongues back in. Their tongues are also sticky which serves the toad two purposes. The sticky liquid attaches to the prey so that the prey remains on the tongue until it enters the toads mouth. The sticky liquid also acts as a lubrication to slide the prey down in to the toads' stomach.

Swallowing the Food

Toads' eyes aid in the swallowing of their prey. The eyes press up against the toads' mouth when they go to swallow, which pushes the food down in to the stomach. This is possible because toads do not have any bones from the mouth all they way up to the eyes. Whenever the toads swallow, their eyelids are forced closed which makes it look like the toads are blinking.

Amount of Food

Toads need to eat a lot in the summer as they hibernate in the winter. During the summer months it is possible for a toad to eat 1,000 insects. Toads are good eaters and the fatter they are, the healthier they are. It is almost impossible for toads to over eat. so anytime prey comes along, you can be sure the toads are going to take advantage of the opportunity.

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