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Thread: American Toad only wants mealworms - should I indulge him?

  1. #1
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    Default American Toad only wants mealworms - should I indulge him?

    Hello all!

    So I have been thoroughly enjoying being the caretaker of a little 3 legged American Toad for the past 6-7 months. I really wish I had been weighing him - all I know is that when I first found him, he fit easily in the mouth of a narrow water bottle and that definitely could not happen now! He's about the size of a half dollar piece, pleasantly plump. I have been learning a ton and trying hard to do the best by him.

    Initially his staple food was D. Hydei fruitflies, with occasional Phoenix worms. As he grew, he still ate (more and more) fruitflies, but he started rejecting the larger size of phoenix worms - like to the point of getting it in his mouth and then spitting it out and wiping his tongue off! NBD, I offered isopods instead for some variety and he LOVED them. However, I have not been able to get them since it has gotten cold outside.

    Well, recently my fruitfly cultures have been crashing hard with mites galore, so I've been trying some new things. The biggest breakthrough was that he was accepting crickets finally. The smallest size available at my local pet store had previously been much too big for him - so I tried some bigger foods. Earthworms went OK, but have to be cut up and takes some finagling to get him to accept. Mealworms, however, went AWESOME.... so awesome that now he is turning his nose up at crickets entirely. I'm waiting for my last culture of flies to take off still, but what I had left his consumption was very lackluster recently. He will chase a cricket literally until he realizes it is a cricket, then hop away. In the same session, if you plop down a mealworm, he will shove it in immediately with both little hands.

    From what I understand, mealworms are not a proper staple, more like feeding him potato chips. I try to pick out the most recently shed ones to reduce issues with chitin but I'm not sure how good I am at that. I just don't know if I should try to wait him out and insist on only feeding mealworms as treats, or if I should indulge him and give him whatever he will eat at any given time? This has probably been going on for a good week now. I am still offering food every day, but if he eats a lot on one day and not much the next I don't worry too much. I am thinking of going to an every other day schedule soon since he is bigger now, and I don't want him getting obese on just 3 legs - his mobility is already not great.

    TL;DR: Toad getting picky and only wants mealworms now. Should I wait him out and try to get him to accept a better staple, or let him eat whatever he wants?

    Thanks guys!

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  3. #2
    Moderator LilyPad's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Toad only wants mealworms - should I indulge him?

    Get him to accept a better staple. Mine loved earthworms and they're very healthy for them. I had to wiggle them a bit to get them to eat them the first several times, but then they chowed them down.
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    0.0.1 Anaxyrus fowleri "Fowler's Toad"



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    Default Re: American Toad only wants mealworms - should I indulge him?

    Some can be very picky I had a small asian toad who seemed to have been only raised on meal worms and crickets. First time I fed him a small earthworm, he attacked, stuffed it in his mouth, and - if toads could - looked utterly shocked, spat it out and would actually avoid or flee earthworms ever since lol

    You can gutfeed mealworms so they are a better food, but you're right: Basically they're not the most nutritious food.

    A trick I have used that you can try, is this: Gather some small earthworms (breeding them yourself is easiest - the babies will be small and easier for him to catch and you won't have to cut them up), small critters from the garden or small phoenix worms.

    Feed him one meal worm, then try immediately with f.x. an earthworm. Sometimes when they get exited about the food, they "forget" to be picky and just attack. Otherwise gutfeed some small crickets and cut down on the mealworms and leave a small amount of crickets in his enclose (not he black breed, that eats meat). Just like 4-5 of them that are his apropriate feeding size (the distance between his eyes).

    Put them in there by dusktime and keep an eye on how many are left next day. Feed minimum of mealworms and keep trying. Patience is key

    Good luck!

  5. #4

    Default Re: American Toad only wants mealworms - should I indulge him?

    I read your post and I hope your toad is doing well. I let my toads eat whenever they want. I built a feeding area where I can release 30 small mealworms in and not have to worry about them escaping or burying themselves. Add a small damp sponge and a little bit of plain oats. Mealworm okay as a stable but superworms are not cuz of their hard exoskeleton may cause the bowels to impact.
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