Feeding your PDFs

Providing a consistent supply of live insects for your PDfs is the most challenging aspect of ensuring the health of your frogs. PDFs should be regularly fed each day. Supplying your frogs with a varied diet is also important so try and raise different kinds of insects. It is hard to quantify the amount of food that PDFs need, but they should be supplied with enough food to allow them to graze on bugs throughout the day. Healthy adult PDFs can survive several days without food but every attempt should be made to feed them daily. I would not recommend leaving your frogs unattended for more than four days at a time.

Vitamins and Minerals

It is very important that you fortify your PDFs diet with vitamins and minerals. I dust my feeder insects 90% of the time. I highly recommend a 50/50 mix of Rep-Cal calcium and Rep-Cal Herptivite.

Fruit Flies

Flightless or wingless fruit flies are typically used as a staple food source. They are cheap and easy to raise. There are two common types of flies used,  Drosophila melanogaster and hydei. Melanogaster (I use this kind) is the smaller of the two and reproduces very quickly. Hydei are larger but reproduce more slower and in my experience are more difficult to keep. I am still producing flies from my original culture that I purchased from Black Jungle back in September 2000.

(left) Melanogaster          (right) Hydei


Flour Beetle Larva

Flour beetle larva are also a common food source for PDFs. They are easy and inexpensive to breed but are more of a hassle to feed to your frogs than flies are. They also have a higher percentage of fat than fruit flies. This makes them well suited for fattening up underweight frogs, but they should not be used as your only food supply. Breeding them is as simple as obtaining a starter culture and adding them to a container of flour. I use plastic Sterilite shoe boxes that have a non air-tight lid. I fill the container with about 2" of unbleached flour and store them in a low humidity area (ie. a closet). There are three stages in their life cycle (four if you count the egg); the larva, pupa, and beetle. The larva is what is used to feed your frogs. Simply use a fine metal mesh strainer to scoop up some of the flour out of the container. Sift the flour back into the container. You will be left with only the insects. I then place the strainer over a clean container and wait for the larva to crawl through and fall into the container. Some of the beetles will also pass through, but not nearly as many of them. You can then dump the larva directly into your terrarium or use a feeding dish.

The beetles produce a toxic gas so you don't store them in an air tight container. After a few months the container will begin to turn brown from their waste and shedded skins. The number of larva produced will also begin to decline. At this time you will want to replace about 90% of the old flour with fresh flour. Just make sure that you leave some beetles and larva in the container to seed the container.

Pinhead Crickets

Other Insects