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Do Frogs Give You Warts? Myths vs Facts & FAQs

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

a frog on human hands

Our childhood is made up of many fictional characters and fascinating myths, and many of us carry these stories into adolescence or even adulthood before we begin to question them. One such story is that touching a frog will give you warts, but is there any truth to this story?

Fortunately, the answer is no, touching a frog will not give you warts. A frog giving you warts is probably as realistic as it turning into a prince. However, being cautious when touching a frog is still a good idea. In this article, we’ll explain the truth behind warts and the wart-like bumps on a frog’s skin that may have been the catalyst for the myth.

frog divider hepper

Can Frogs Give You Warts?

Frogs cannot give you warts under any circumstance. Warts are caused by a virus spread between humans, and frogs or toads have nothing to do with it. This myth originated so many years ago that It’s hard to pinpoint precisely how it came to be. However, it seems to be inspired by a seemingly logical explanation. Some frogs and toads have small bumps on their head and body that resemble warts. While this makes logical sense to some, the truth is that the wart-like bumps seen on a frog’s skin are not warts, and even so, warts are only contagious between humans.

Some frogs and toads have bumpy skin because it serves as camouflage and protects their fragile skin. They need extra protection so that their skin can filter oxygen. However, this thin skin makes them more prone to injury. Furthermore, the bumps on a toad’s head, known as parotid glands, are helpful for protection from predators as it contains a liquid that has a terrible taste. They also produce a toxin that interferes with the predator’s heart, which can be fatal.

The True Cause of Warts

Warts appearing on a hand
Image Credit: Goldsithney, Shutterstock

Warts are a common viral skin condition that is more prevalent in kids because of their underdeveloped immune systems but can also occur in adults. They are rough bumps on the skin when the virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV) enters the skin through a cut or scrape. There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only a small number of them cause warts, while others can cause cancer.

How to Handle a Frog Safely

While you can rest easy knowing that touching or handling a frog won’t give you or your child warts, you should still be cautious when handling them. Some frogs and toads can secrete toxins from their skin and may have skin that contains harmful bacteria such as salmonella. If you need to handle a frog or your child befriends one as its new pet, you should always try not to handle the frog with your bare hands and wash your hands thoroughly after handling it.

It’s not only ourselves that we need to be concerned about. The frog can also face harm by being handled by a human:

  • They have very permeable skin, which means that pathogens can easily enter their bodies.
  • Our skin contains natural salts that can be harmful to a frog’s sensitive skin.
  • Our dry hands can also harm them as their mucus membranes work to keep their skin moist.
  • Human contact can be stressful for frogs.
  • The stress from being handled by a human may cause it to jump from your hands which can cause injury if they fall or jump from too high.
  • If a frog is handled incorrectly, it can cause injury or even be fatal.
If you need to handle a frog, you should:
  • Wear clean, unpowdered gloves.
  • Wet the gloves before handling the frog.
  • Never pick up a frog by its stomach since it can cause damage to its organs, which is especially important for over-affectionate children to be aware of.
  • Keep them low to the ground, and be sure they can’t jump away.
frog pet
Image Credit: Satoru Hatakeyama, Shutterstock

frog divider hepper


Just as kissing a frog won’t give you a prince, touching one will not cause you to develop warts. That is a myth you can now put to rest. However, that doesn’t mean you can go around kissing and cuddling frogs since they require caution when handling them. Some frogs are poisonous, and others can spread harmful bacteria. Furthermore, the frog is a sensitive creature that can be frightened and injure itself when trying to escape. Next time you see a frog that needs to move to a new spot, you can handle it knowing you won’t break out in warts.

Featured Image Credit: jamjoh, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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