Do toads actually give you warts?

Does touching toads give you warts? This is one question that every kid hears when they are little, and when I heard it I listened to it intensively. I think I have touched a toad one time with my bare hands and I immediately washed my hands multiple times afterwards because I really was scared that I was going to get warts! However, it turns out that touching toads actually does not cause warts at all!

I’m sure everyone has heard the statement that toads cause warts if you touch them at some point in their lives. The origin is unknown, the best guess is that the myth came about because of the texture of the skin on the toads back. Toads have bumpy backs and so it was thought that because they have bumpy skin, if you touch it your skin will also become bumpy. As time went on, scientists have studied the matter and found that there is no connection between touching a toad and getting warts. So, as it turns out touching toads does not actually give you warts! Warts actually come from a form of viruses categorized under the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV describes a group of about 150 viruses that cause growths in the human skin cells. In my head, another explanation for warts or a reaction in the skin when someone touches a toad could be a sign that maybe they are allergic to the creature.

Even though touching toads cannot give you warts, in some cases it can be dangerous. Some toads and frogs have toxins that they can secrete as a defense mechanism and can cause intense pain if you touch the milky substance that they secrete holding the toxins. In fact, one golden poison frog have enough toxins to kill 10 grown men, this makes them one of the most poisonous animals alive today.

A golden poison frog

In conclusion, it turns our that touching toads does not actually give you warts! However you still should be careful at which toads and frogs you do touch because the most beautiful ones can be the most deadly ones as we see with the golden poison frog. I still don’t like toads, they creep me out, so I will continue to get them out of the pool using the skimming net and not my hands, but it is comforting to know that if I do happen to touch it that it will not give me warts!

1 thought on “Do toads actually give you warts?

  1. Anthony Joseph Martin

    I feel like this is one of the biggest questions that people ask but never bother to find the answer, including me until now. I am definitely glad that toads don’t actually give warts though, I used to go and catch them in my neighbors pond ALL the time when I was younger!

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