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Truth or Tail: Toads can give you warts

Halloween may be over, but the spooky myths continue. Can touching a toad really give you warts? Read the truth (or tail) below.


Asiatic black spine toad


Warts on humans occur when a (human) virus comes in contact with skin and causes an infection. Warts are not caused by touching toads, however toads can irritate human skin. One way to tell the difference between a toad and a frog is to look at their skin. Most toad species have dry skin with bumps – which can look like warts but are actually glands – and bigger bumps behind their eyes called “perrated glands.” All of these glands on a toad contain a toxic liquid that the toad secretes when it feels it’s in danger. The liquid can be super sticky, distasteful or even poisonous. It acts as a first line of defense against a predator.

The Asiatic black spine toad shown above is native to Southeast Asia and typically stays under the cover of logs or plants during the day, coming out at night to hunt. You won’t find this species in your Ohio backyard, but if you do see a toad in your yard be sure to wash your hands if you touch it and only pick it up briefly. You won’t get warts, but you might get slimed!

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