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Why Do Toads Pee on You? Facts & FAQ

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By Misty Layne

The European green toad

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Have you ever picked up a toad (whether a pet or wild) and noticed they peed on you? It can be gross when this happens, and you’ve probably wondered just what you did that made the toad pee on you in the first place. Why does that happen?

It turns out that when a toad pees on you, it’s a defense mechanism. But if you’re dealing with a pet toad, why would they be defensive with you? And what should you do if a toad pees on you? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions!

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Why Toads Pee on You


Please note that many states and jurisdictions may have legislation that prevents capturing or owning tadpoles, frogs, or toads. Always make sure you have the permission to legally own an exotic pet before deciding to adopt one. If you are in the US, please refer to state laws before deciding to adopt an exotic or wild pet. Elsewhere, please refer to relevant laws where you reside.

Capturing wild animals is not advised, as this disrupts local ecosystems. In addition, amphibians may naturally harbor Salmonella and spread it to humans and other pets. Frogs or toads are not recommended to be kept alongside children, the elderly, pregnant individuals, or those with a compromised immune system. Hygiene is of utmost importance when dealing with amphibians.

Some species of frogs have naturally occurring poisons or toxins which they can release by different mechanisms, depending on the species. All toads are toxic to a certain degree, and they are especially dangerous for pet dogs. Therefore, caution and thorough research prior to adopting a pet is very important.

As we said, when a toad pees on you, it’s a defense mechanism. Toads and many other animals will urinate or even defecate when they feel threatened; this is a normal defense to avoid being eaten or harmed. It works because the toad’s urine smells and tastes foul, which causes predators to drop them, letting them hop away to safety.

But if you’re dealing with a pet toad, you might be wondering why it would do this to you. After all, your pet should know you and know you don’t want to eat it, right? But look at it from your toad’s point of view. While you may take care of them, you’re still quite larger than your toad, so when you pick them up, it makes sense that your pet could feel intimidated or threatened. You might also be accidentally mishandling your toad when you pick them up, which could make it pee on you in defense.

Please be mindful that toads aren’t domesticated and usually don’t like being picked up. Many substances commonly found on our skin (such as chlorine residue from tap water) can be harmful to toads. You should only touch your toad when absolutely necessary.

Is Toad Pee Dangerous?

You probably know that toads are poisonous, as they have glands behind the eyes that can secrete a toxin. Just handling them won’t harm you (although you should absolutely wash your hands thoroughly after handling a toad), though. But what about toad pee? Is it dangerous?

The answer is no! It isn’t poisonous, and it won’t harm you. It’s gross and probably smells unpleasant, but it isn’t dangerous unless ingested.

What to Do if Your Toad Pees on You

So, what should you do if your toad pees on you when you pick it up? First, stay calm; don’t panic or get upset. It’s not your toad’s fault; if you panic, you might accidentally drop them. So, remain calm, and gently place your toad back down.

The next thing you’ll want to do, of course, is wash your hands incredibly well. But while on the way to washing your hands, don’t touch your nose, mouth, eyes, or anywhere near an open wound, such as a cut. Getting toad pee into an open wound could cause a bacterial infection, and you want to avoid that!

Wash your hands with soap for over 20 seconds. If the toad pee got somewhere other than your hands, wash that thoroughly. And if your toad peed on your clothes, remove them so they can be washed, as well.

Finally, monitor your health over the next few days. While you should be fine if you immediately wash your hands well after your toad peed on you, these animals can carry viruses and bacteria, so it’s wise to keep an eye on things for a couple of days. Consult your medical doctor if you’re unsure about your health status after interacting with a toad.

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Toads pee on you when you pick them up, either because they feel threatened or you’re accidentally mishandling them. Peeing is simply a defense mechanism to get a predator to drop the toad so they can hop away safely. If your toad does pee on you, know that the urine isn’t usually dangerous, but you do need to wash your hands (and any other body parts affected) thoroughly with soap to avoid the spread of bacteria.


Featured Image Credit: zdenek_macat, Shutterstock

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Authored by

Misty Layne lives out in the woods in small-town Alabama with her two Siamese—Serafina and Jasper. She also has an array of stray cats, raccoons, and possums who like to call her front porch home. When she’s not writing about animals, you’ll find her writing poetry, stories, and film reviews (the animals are, by far, her favorite writing topic, though!). In her free time, Misty enjoys chilling with her cats, playing...Read more

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