We have all seen ducks waddling through the grass or swimming across a pond during the spring.
Like ducks, frogs are found both on land and in the water.
But do ducks eat frogs?
As foraging omnivores, ducks eat a wide variety of plants and animals, including frogs. However, adult frogs are not a duck’s first choice since they may be a choking hazard or poisonous.
Keep reading to learn when ducks may choose to eat frogs and what other types of plants and animals make up a duck’s diet.
Ducks Are Omnivores
Given their generally gentle demeanor, it is not surprising to learn many people think ducks are herbivores.
But this is a common misconception.
While ducks are not an aggressive species, they are, in fact, omnivores.
This means they eat both plants and animals.
As omnivores, ducks have a wider range of food options.
This flexibility allows them to survive even when food sources are scarce.
These feathered opportunists are excellent at adapting to different types of food depending on their habitat and the season.
Ducks are curious birds.
As foraging waterfowl, ducks eat various things on land and in the water.
These include edible water plants, insects, larval creatures, small fish, and more.
We may not think of ducks as predatory birds.
But in times of desperation, these natural hunters may even resort to eating small birds!
Another surprising animal, a hungry duck, may eat is a frog.
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Frogs Are Not Ducks’ Favorite Food
In certain circumstances, ducks will eat frogs.
However, frogs are not a normal meal for a duck.
Frogs come in a variety of sizes depending on their species.
Ducks cannot eat large frogs, or they risk choking.
Additionally, some frogs are poisonous.
But if food is scarce, frogs are a good source of protein and fat for ducks.
This helps keep ducks warm during the winter.
Frogs also contain iron, which is important in blood flow and preventing anemia in ducks.
Some duck species and breeds seem to crave animals in their diet more than others.
For instance, mallard duck breeds appear to have more of an appetite for frogs.
Wild ducks are also more likely to eat frogs during nesting season when they need extra protein while raising their offspring.
When it comes to frogs, female ducks are more likely to hunt for frogs.
Male ducks do not seem to possess the same frog-hunting capabilities.
But this does not stop male ducks from attempting to steal frogs from female ducks.
Ducks Prefer Smaller Life Stages of Frogs
Frogs are amphibians, and as such, the lifecycle of frogs is unique, with different stages.
They grow from eggs to tadpoles and undergo metamorphosis to become adult frogs.
Adult frogs may be a mouthful for ducks and are often too large for them to swallow safely.
Therefore, ducks would rather eat baby frogs or small-sized frogs.
Furthermore, ducks prefer to eat frog spawn in the form of eggs or tadpoles.
Although they are tiny, frog eggs are, in fact, a nutritious meal and serve as an excellent source of protein.
Unlike adult frogs, tadpoles are found at the surface of shallow water, making them easier for ducks to catch.
Eating Too Many Frogs May Make Ducks Sick
Although ducks require a certain amount of protein in their diet, more is not always better.
Frogs contain a lot of protein.
Therefore, while frogs can make up part of a duck’s diet, frogs should not be part of their daily diet.
For example, an excessively protein-rich diet can lead to health problems such as visceral gout.
This is when urate crystals accumulate in the organs and can result in kidney damage.
What Do Ducks Prefer to Eat?
Although ducks will often surprise you with some food choices, they have certain types of food they gravitate towards if given a choice.
Ducks prefer eating aquatic pond vegetation, insects, worms, and aquatic creatures like mollusks (e.g., snails and slugs) and fish eggs.
Types of plants eaten by ducks:
- Water lily seeds
Types of animals eaten by ducks:
- Insects (e.g., cockroaches, pond skaters, diving beetles)
- Mollusks (e.g., snails, slugs)
- Small crustaceans (e.g., crayfish)
- Small fish (e.g., minnows, fish eggs)
Further Reading: Treats for ducks to make them happy
Duck Beak Design
As waterfowl, ducks have beaks designed to reflect their unique eating habits.
Ducks have to be able to acquire food on dry land and in bodies of water.
In the water, ducks use their beaks to sift and strain through the water to pick up microscopic aquatic critters.
Ducks do not have true teeth.
However, their beaks, or bills, have serrated edges, which allow them to grasp food.
This design allows ducks to eat grass efficiently and grab seeds from plants.
When ducks eat plants, they also often ingest unsuspecting animals who may be hiding in the foliage, such as snails.
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Do Ducks Eat Toads?
Ducks may eat frogs on occasion.
But what about other amphibians, like toads?
Toads spend more time on land than frogs and are more active at night.
Because of this behavior, toads have a greater chance of getting into the duck coop.
Owners of domesticated ducks may be worried about this because toads secrete bufotoxin.
Bufotoxin is a strong toxin that can affect the heart and may even cause death.
Therefore, ducks should not eat toads in the wild or in captivity.
Can Ducklings Eat Frogs?
A duckling’s diet is similar to an adult duck’s, except they typically eat softer options such as algae, worms, and small snails or slugs.
However, ducklings cannot eat frogs.
Adult frogs are too large for ducklings and are a choking hazard.
While ducklings cannot eat frogs, some amphibians are capable of eating baby ducks!
For example, Giant American bullfrogs have been known to eat ducklings.
The food chain can surprise us in the animal kingdom, and often, survival depends on an animal’s relative size.