What Animals Eat Toads?

North American toads are regularly eaten by hognose snakes, owls, skunks, hawks and raccoons. Garter snakes in particular predate on toads and are hypothesized to have developed an immunity or resistance to their poison. Toad eggs and tadpoles are eaten by fish, beetles and various bugs.

Although toads can defend themselves with their poisonous cutaneous secretions and paratoid glands, which produce a foul-smelling toxic chemical as a deterrent, some animals such as raccoons learn to flip toads over to avoid the poison and eat the toads’ undersides. Despite being ideally sized for prey, the toads do benefit from their paratoid glands. According to Penn State, the production of the poison in these glands stems from the variety of arthropod-generated poisons in the toads’ natural diet, especially because captive toads fed a more limited diet fail to produce this poison. Toads employ limited camouflage to deter predators and don’t venture out in the daylight or even under moonlight, retreating beneath rocks, logs and leaf litter to avoid detection. Some toads have been observed to play dead upon encountering predators, although this offers limited success. Toads can also puff up their bodies to look bigger and more threatening to scare away predators.