Toads can seem kind of scary if you don’t know a lot about them or their teeth. They can be big, have warts, could pee on you, and are all poisonous. So, naturally, adding a potential toad bite to the mix might make people more fearful of them.
Toads do not have teeth and feed primarily on invertebrates. Since toads swallow their food whole and alive, they do not chew. Toads are generally ambush predators, meaning they sit and wait for their food, surprise their prey, and do not require teeth to hold it back.
In this article, you’ll learn why toads do not have teeth, if toads bite, and if a toad bite can hurt.
Toads Do Not Have Teeth
Frogs have small teeth to chew their food, but toads do not. Instead, toads grab onto their prey with an exceptionally sticky tongue and swallow their food whole and alive. Toads will eat just about anything that they can fit into their mouth that is alive and moving.
One might think that might put a damper on their options for food, but it does not. A large toad can grab onto and something as small as a fly or something as big as a small mouse and swallow it whole with no problems. The toad’s digestive system does all of the hard work once the prey is in its stomach.
Do Toads Bite?
Generally toads do not bite and a toad bite does not hurt because toads do not have teeth. However, a toad may bite at you if they think your finger is food.
Technically, a toad could “bite” you by grabbing onto your finger. However, unless the toad is very large like a mature Cane Toad, it will not hurt. A toad cannot eat you or digest your finger since it is attached to your body which is much bigger than the toad.
In most cases a toad bite will not make you bleed or hurt you. If you find that a toothless terror is biting your finger, just give it a small shake, and it should back off. Do not wave your finger infront of a toad’s mouth, it will probably think it’s food.
Can a Toad Bite Be Harmful?
If you have an open wound on the finger the toad bit, their mucous, saliva or poison may get into the wound and cause infection or disease. If you touch your face or eyes after a toad bite, their secretions could also get into your sinuses and cause health problems.
A bite from a large toad can be harmful although the actual bite may not hurt. There are still risks when interacting with toads, especially large ones like Cane Toads.
All toads are poisonous, but toads are not venomous. So if you getting bit by a toad it cannot inject venom into your skin. However, their poison could get onto your skin if you touch the toad and they secrete the toxin.
Learn more about how to protect yourself if you touch a toad in this article on our blog.
Some Toads Have Very Strong Jaws
Though they don’t have teeth, toads still have short jaws so their mouths can open and close. These jaws can snap shut very fast and very hard. They have to, otherwise their prey may be able to manage to get away before they can eat it. There isn’t much research about toads’ jaws specifically since this is one area where some frogs and toads are very similar.
Certain types of frogs, like the horned frog, can bite with a force of about 30 Newtons. For reference, 30 Newtons worth of force biting down onto your finger would feel about the same as balancing almost a full gallon of water on one finger.
A prehistoric toad, called Beelzebufo, is said to have had such a strong bite that it could take on small juvenile dinosaurs.
Generally, the bigger the toad, the stronger their jaws and bite. A tiny toad bite generally does not hurt, however a cane toad bite could cause discomfort, pain or have other consequences depending on if their poison or secretions enter the sinuses or bloodstream.
Protecting Yourself From Toad Bites
The best thing to do when handling a toad is to wear gloves. If you do come in contact with a toad skin to skin, wash and sanitize your hands and other contaminated areas thoroughly before doing anything else.
The other thing to do is avoid picking up a toad unless absolutely necessary. They look fun to hold, but really, they can be dangerous animals and should be left alone. If moving a toad is unavoidable, always do so gently and try not to startle it. Otherwise, the toad will pull out all the stops when it comes to defense mechanisms, and if you’re unprepared, it can be bad news.
Toads do not have teeth, but that does not mean their mouths are incapable of causing pain. Teeth are arguably the least of your worries when dealing with them. The best thing for everyone’s safety when dealing with any kind of toad, but especially bigger ones, is to handle them gently and as quickly as possible – if you have to touch them at all.
More About Toad Teeth
We have more awesome articles about toads on our site, check them out to learn more about how to safely interact with toads, what to do about the invasive cane toad and how poisonous toads really are:
- What To Do If A Frog Bites You
- Are Cane Toads Still a Problem?
- Are All Frogs Poisonous?
- Frog Urine / Pee: Everything There is to Know
- Guide: Safely Catch And Hold Frogs & Toads
- Frog Anatomy: Everything You Need To Know
- What Frogs Eat: Everything There is to Know
Questions Related to Toad Teeth
Do Toads Have Teeth in Top Jaws? Toads do not have teeth in their upper jaws like frogs. Toads do not have any teeth since they eat their prey live and whole by catching it off guard and swallowing it alive.
Why do Toads Have no Teeth? Toads are generally ambush predators and so they rely on a “sit-and-wait” technique to stalk their prey. Stunning an insect or a mouse gives them enough time to swallow the prey whole and send it directly to its stomach with no need to hold it back with teeth.
News.Com | Beelzebufo (Devil-Toad) had a bite as big as a wolf, allowing it to chomp-down on small dinosaurs