Do Frogs Really Give You Warts?

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: February 28, 2022
© Seregraff/Shutterstock.com
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We’ve all heard people say that frogs give you warts, the same as we’ve heard that kissing a frog can net you a prince! Are either of these myths true?

Luckily, frogs cannot give people warts. Humans develop warts through a virus called Human papillomavirus, or HPV. This is spread only from other humans, not animals. You may develop HPV through sexual activity. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant or nursing parent to their child.

In this article, we’ll talk about frogs and warts—everything from what to do if you have warts, to why frogs have those wart-like bumps on their skin!

Can Frogs Give People Warts?

Do Frogs Cause Wars - Frog skin
The bumps on a frog’s skin that look like warts are actually specialized glands that lubricate their skin.

©RealityImages/Shutterstock.com

No, frogs cannot give people warts. Warts are caused by a virus spread from person to person. HPV, or Human papillomavirus, is a sexually-transmitted virus that is spread through intercourse or from parent to child through pregnancy, labor, or nursing.

Some people never know they have HPV, while others will notice symptoms such as warts or cancer. The way to protect yourself from HPV and warts is by practicing safe sex, not by avoiding frogs!

If you currently have warts, please see a doctor to discuss a diagnosis and treatment options.

What Would Happen if you Kissed a Frog?

Although they can’t give you warts, kissing a frog is still a bad idea. They probably won’t turn into a prince in front of your eyes, but they can give you Salmonella or poison you.

In addition, it can hurt frogs to be handled. Even if you pick the frog up properly, they certainly won’t enjoy the big, scary giant in their face!

Why do People Say Frogs give you Warts?

The bumps on frogs skin also produce a foul tasting liquid that makes them unappealing to many predators.

©dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

This is such an old myth that no one is really sure where it comes from. However, we can guess that it began because many frogs have bumpy skin that looks wart-like.

This skin texture has nothing to do with warts but instead helps land frogs camouflage into their environment and protects their fragile skin.

Frogs’ skin is very thin, which allows them to filter oxygen through it—but also makes them more susceptible to injury.

The bumps on a toad’s head also contain paratoid glands, which store a terrible-tasting liquid that protects them from predators.

Reasons to Avoid Handling Frogs

Red Animals - Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Some frogs shouldn’t be handled for a very different reason than warts – many species are poisonous!

©iStock.com/NTCo

Frogs won’t give you warts, but they can transmit diseases such as Salmonella. Some frogs are poisonous as well.

It’s important not to handle frogs more than necessary, never with bare hands, and to always wash your hands after handling a frog.

In addition, there are many downsides of human contact for frogs:

  • Our skin contains natural salts, which can hurt or kill a frog’s sensitive skin.
  • Dry hands can harm your frog’s skin. Their mucus membranes work to keep their skin moist, which helps them to take in oxygen from the air.
  • Most frogs will find human contact stressful—they aren’t like dogs or cats who like to cuddle and bond with us!
  • Frogs are sensitive creatures with thin skin, and handling them wrong can cause severe injury or even death.
  • If a frog jumps from your hands, they can injure themselves in the fall.

If you must handle a frog, either outdoors or as a pet, put on clean, unpowdered gloves first. Wet your gloves before handling the frog.

Never pick a frog up by their stomach, since this can damage their organs. Keep the handling to a minimum, and wash your hands thoroughly when you’re finished.

Be sure the frog cannot jump away, or keep them low to the ground so that they cannot hurt themselves if they escape your hold.


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Do Frogs Cause Warts
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About the Author

I'm an animal writer of four years with a primary focus on educational pet content. I want our furry, feathery, and scaley friends to receive the best care possible! In my free time, I'm usually outdoors gardening or spending time with my nine rescue pets.

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