What do I feed tadpoles that just turned into tiny frogs?

Thank you for the information you have provided on your site.  Our froglets have morphed over the past several days and were doing pretty well but they seem to have stopped eating.  Boiled romaine lettuce was a hit just last week when they were still transforming but now that they’ve discovered the rocks and are becoming more frog than tadpole, they aren’t eating.  The frogs are TINY!!!  Maybe about ½” long.  The tadpoles were black (about the same size ½”) and found in a mud puddle in a boatyard in Massachusetts.  I’m trying fresh water fish food flakes.  And I threw in a small fruit fly yesterday but they aren’t interested.

Any suggestions?  We’re planning to release them back to the puddle where we found them (or nearby should the puddle no longer be there) within the next couple of weeks but can’t get there any sooner.

Towards the end of metamorphosis, when tadpoles develop front arms and the tail begins to be absorbed, the young frogs will stop eating. During this time they live off the nutrients from their tail. Soon though (usually only a couple days) once the tail is completely gone, they will need lots of tiny live food to eat.

From your description—black tadpoles which completed metamorphosis at about a half inch—and location, I would guess you have either American or Fowler’s Toads.

If you live near the puddle the tadpoles were collected you could try taking handfuls of moist leaf litter or garden compost and introducing it into the enclosure. A handful a day could provide plenty of little tiny bugs for the toads to eat. Flightless fruit flies and hatchling crickets are also possible food items available from many pet stores. You can usually feed any food item that is as long as the width of the frog or toad’s head, or smaller.

Also, if the tadpoles were kept with other aquatic animals (for example in an aquarium with fish) it is probably better not to release them. There are diseases that can be spread to wild amphibians from captive aquatic animals and it would be safer if you were able to keep the young toads if this is the case.

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