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Thread: I feel like my American Toad is too skinny

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    Unhappy I feel like my American Toad is too skinny

    I recently put him in a new enclosure and he didn't want to eat yesterday. He only ate half a worm and I'm kind of worried because before he would eat a lot.
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    Default Re: I feel like my American Toad is too skinny

    Here's a great quote from an article written for Reptiles Magazine which goes right along with my approach to feeding the Anaxyrus americanus Toads I kept as a pre-teen and the Hyla versicolor Tree Frogs I have now:

    "Toads should not be fussy eaters. Healthy toads are usually actually quite pudgy! If you are housing them correctly within the suggested temperature range, then they will accept crickets, mealworms, waxworms, earthworms or superworms of appropriate size. They usually consume anything that they can fit in their mouth. Gut-loaded crickets can make up the majority of the diet; however, variety is the spice of life, and the more you can vary a toad’s diet, the better off it will be. During warm months, catching local insects (nontoxic, of course) can provide added variety. Moths seem to be particularly relished by most toads. In the wild, they eat grubs, spiders, worms, insects, slugs, snails and other invertebrates. If your toads are wild-caught, try offering them what they eat in the wild."

    In captivity Toads won't produce the toxic secretions they do in the wild unless you feed them the venomous arthropods they relish in the wild. My resident wild Anaxyrus americanus Toads can be seen nearly every night of the Spring, Summer, and Fall hunting spiders along the pool coping and over the entire large concrete patio area of my compound. I've sat and watched them snap up spiders for a couple of hours at a time on warm Summer nights.

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    Default Re: I feel like my American Toad is too skinny

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    Here's a great quote from an article written for Reptiles Magazine which goes right along with my approach to feeding the Anaxyrus americanus Toads I kept as a pre-teen and the Hyla versicolor Tree Frogs I have now:

    "Toads should not be fussy eaters. Healthy toads are usually actually quite pudgy! If you are housing them correctly within the suggested temperature range, then they will accept crickets, mealworms, waxworms, earthworms or superworms of appropriate size. They usually consume anything that they can fit in their mouth. Gut-loaded crickets can make up the majority of the diet; however, variety is the spice of life, and the more you can vary a toad’s diet, the better off it will be. During warm months, catching local insects (nontoxic, of course) can provide added variety. Moths seem to be particularly relished by most toads. In the wild, they eat grubs, spiders, worms, insects, slugs, snails and other invertebrates. If your toads are wild-caught, try offering them what they eat in the wild."

    In captivity Toads won't produce the toxic secretions they do in the wild unless you feed them the venomous arthropods they relish in the wild. My resident wild Anaxyrus americanus Toads can be seen nearly every night of the Spring, Summer, and Fall hunting spiders along the pool coping and over the entire large concrete patio area of my compound. I've sat and watched them snap up spiders for a couple of hours at a time on warm Summer nights.
    The toads still have their toxin it just won't secrete unless they feel threatened to the point their life is in danger. I have actually seen captive toads still produce the chemical.

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    Default Re: I feel like my American Toad is too skinny

    They can produce secretions but the toxicity of those secretions is correlated with their diet. This applies to both reptiles and amphibians broadly.
    Here's a salient snippit from an excellent science source that I highly recommend for those seeking scientific references for such topics:

    "The source of many chemicals that occur in amphibian skin appears to be the arthropods in their diets, particularly ants. Clades within the Bufonidae (e.g., Rhinella), Microhylidae (e.g., Microhylinae), Mantellidae (e.g., Mantella), and Dendrobatidae (e.g., Dendrobates, Adelphobates, Ranitomeya, Oophaga, and Phyllobates, for example) specialize on ants and produce some of the most toxic skin compounds. The suggestion that some frogs may optimize chemical intake for defense when selecting prey is supported by comparisons of the diets of frogs and lizards from the same microhabitats. Many leaf litter frogs of Amazonian forests feed on ants, even though more energetically profitable prey are available based on diets of lizards in the same microhabitat. The ant-eating frogs produce noxious chemicals in the skin, whereas those that eat few ants do not produce toxic skin chemicals (Fig. 11.19). The correlation between ant eating (myrmecophagy) and skin toxins is best supported for dendrobatid frogs. Ant eating, production of noxious or toxic chemicals in the skin, and aposematic coloration have evolved independently several times. Based on their presumed phylogenetic relationships, these traits have evolved together (see Fig. 10.29). A number of behavioral and life history traits have evolved concordant with myrmecophagy, including increased activity, reduced clutch size, and more extended parental care, including either prolonged feeding of tadpoles or long-term pair bonds in some lineages. The possibility exists that release from predation by visually oriented predators has relaxed some of the constraints imposed by low levels of activity in cryptic species such as Allobates, resulting in the evolution of complex social behaviorsinvolving high levels of activity in other genera, such as Dendrobates, Oophaga, and Ranitomeya. Species of Allobates eat few ants, are not aposematically colored (with one possible exception), do not produce skin toxins, and rely on crypsis for escape from detection by predators."

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/anaxyrus

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