8 Incredible Frog Myths & Facts

I can still hear my grandmother now, yelling at me when I was a kid to put down my pet toad in the yard because it could give me warts. She did not want me to spend time with Toady at all. But then on TV, I would see fairytales saying that kissing a frog will turn it into a Prince, or that licking a frog could bring good luck. What are we supposed to believe? Are any of these frog myths based on facts?

Frogs and toads cannot give you warts – this is a myth. The fairy tail that kissing a frog will turn it into a Price is also a myth. Another common frog myth is that licking a frog will bring you good luck. Acting on these myths can be dangerous to your health.

It certainly is not fun if a frog pees on you, but at least you won’t have to worry about developing any warts. But why do frogs pee when you handle them? And where did all these myths come from?

1. Frog Urine Can Give You Warts: Myth

Generally, frogs urinate when they are stressed, afraid, or want to fend off a predator. Frog urine cannot give you warts since this is a viral infection frogs do not carry. However, frogs may carry salmonella so wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap before and after handling a frog.

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Frogs pee as a self-defense mechanism. Since frogs are small and have hundreds of predators, they may urinate to try to make themselves less desirable to eat. A predator may pick a frog up in its mouth, and if the frog pees, may drop it. Many animals urinate or defecate when they are in danger because the predator is less likely to eat them if they smell bad.

As a general rule, if a frog urinates on you, you should put the frog down and leave it alone. After doing so, you should proceed to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

We have more information about what to do if a frog pees on you in this article on our blog.

2. Toads Can Give You Warts: Myth

Touching a frog or a toad’s skin, or their urine cannot give you warts since the virus that causes warts, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is not carried by frogs. If you have warts you did not get them from a frog and should seek medical attention to tend to them.

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Although there seems to be no origin of the frog or toad causing wart myth, it likely started from well-intentioned parents and grand-parents. Just like how parents do not enjoy hearing their children cracking all their knuckles and joints, some probably don’t enjoy the thought of their children having frog germs on their hands (CTNF).

I think that’s why my grandmother told me my toad could give me warts. She wanted me to empty the dishwasher, not play with my pet toad in the yard. It also doesn’t help that toads are covered in what looks like human warts. Sometimes people assume that the lumps on toads skin are warts that can be transmitted to humans. But these are natural parts of a toad’s skin.

Learn more about toad warts, how to treat and prevent warts in this article on our blog.

3. Kissing a Frog Can Make You Very Sick: Fact

Kissing a frog will not turn it into a Prince as this is a fairytale told since the 1800s. Kissing a frog can be very dangerous to human health depending on the species and can cause sicknesses, vomiting, hallucinations and even death if the frog is highly poisonous.

The iconic kissing a frog to transform them into a Prince myth has been around for centuries. The original tale of frog kissing comes from before the 1800s when Paul Friedrich Meyerheim wrote the book “The Frog Prince”. In the story, the princess befriends a frog that is actually a prince is under a spell cast by a witch. When the girl kisses the frog, he returns to his human, Prince form.

Unlike the happy ending of these fairy tales which we are all told as children, kissing a frog can be very dangerous and have serious health-related consequences.

You could end up with anything from a gross taste in your mouth, to spending time in a hospital. While some frogs are not poisonous, that doesn’t mean you should go around kissing them. Frogs are amphibians and are known for carrying salmonella.

Kissing a poisonous frog could send you straight to the hospital or could result in a quick and painful death. This is especially true if the frog is actually a toad (like a Cane Toad) or if frog is a primary color like yellow, red or blue. Toads secrete poison behind their eyes that can make humans sick, and can be lethal to to pets. Primary-colored frogs are generally highly toxic and can kill people with very little poison.

4. Licking a Frog Can Make You Very Sick: True

The myth that licking a frog can bring you luck generally stems from fairy tales and is a dangerous myth. Licking certain toads can cause psychedelic reactions that can be lethal in some cases. Frogs also carry bacteria like salmonella that can make you very sick.

Similar to kissing a frog, licking a frog can make you sick but may react even faster in your system. At least with kissing a frog, you have a chance to attempt to wash off the bacteria from your lips. But if you lick a frog, there is nothing you can do to prevent diseases or poison from entering your body.

There is no way to know how your body will handle the amount of poison or toxins from the frog. It is best to follow this simple rule: Do Not Lick Frogs! If you did lick a frog, go to the hospital and get checked out immediately.

Licking the frog is also bad for the frog! Frogs breathe and drink through their skin and can soak up anything that comes in contact with them and can seep into their pores. By licking them, you subject the frog to any bacteria in your mouth or viruses that you carry.

5. Rainbow, Pink & Purple Frogs Exist: Myth

You may also be wondering if rainbow, purple and pink frogs are real since many photos of them have circulated on social media and can be found on search engines.

Purple Poison Dart, Purple Frogs, Pink Frogs and Rainbow Frogs do not exist. The image in search engines and on social media of Purple, or Purple and Black frogs are edited versions of photos of Poison Dart Frog.

Lipstick False Dart Frogs, “Pseudodendrobate Americanus,” or Pink Poison Dart Frogs do not exist. The image in search engines and on social media of a Pink and Black frog is an edited version of a photo that was probably of a Green Poison Dart Frog.

Rainbow Frogs do not exist and are not real. The image of a perfect rainbow-gradient colored frog that circulated on social media was a modified version of a photo of an orange Poison Dart Frog.

Learn more about what colors frogs can be in this article on our blog.

6. Frogs Can Breathe Through Their Skin: Fact

Frogs can breathe through their lungs, nostrils, the lining of their mouth, and through their skin. Aquatic frogs prefer breathing through their skin while in water where they spend most of their time to absorb oxygen and stay hydrated.

It’s true that frogs breathe through their skin by absorbing the oxygen in the water around them. This is one reason why frogs spend most of their time in water. They also drink through their skin by absorbing moisture in humid air, rain, soil, and in the water around them.

Learn everything there is to know about frog skin in our dedicated article.

7. Frog Hybrids Are Photoshopped Images: True

Frog hybrid images are not real photos of living frogs. Frog dog, frog cat, and frog horse photos found on social media platforms and in search engines are edited images consisting of two separate yet merged photos. This is generally done with Photoshop or similar apps. 

But hybrid or frog mashup photos take a lot of hard work but are fun to create and observe! Let’s have a look at some of the best frog hybrid photos on the internet. Just keep in mind, these frogs only truly exist in these edited images, and in our imagination!

Check our list of cool frog hybrids!

8. Slowly Boil a Frog, It Won’t Notice: Myth

The tale a frog will not try to escape a pot of template water slowly brought to a boil is a myth. A frog will try to escape a pot of cold or temperate water, and will die if placed in boiling water. In reality, this tale is a metaphor showing human ignorance to dangerous situations around them.

Although the boiling frog tale is a myth, it is an excellent metaphor to human ignorance. Humans are ignoring pressing issues around them, letting the temperature rise in the pot (our planet) and for the most part, not taking action. The best example of this are the severe impacts of climate change.

The ironic aspect of this metaphor with regards to climate change, is that frogs are disappearing from our planet due to the impacts of human actions such as urbanization and deforestation. We have a part to play in saving frogs, as well as ourselves in this “boiling frog” situation, that not only affects the frogs, but us as well.

More About Frog Myths

Now that you know that all these frog and toad myths are false, you may be interested in learning even more about these fascinating topics. Check out our other resources to learn more about toads and frogs on our blog:

Questions Related to Common Frog Myths

Is it Good to Kiss a Frog? Kissing a frog is bad for the frog and the person kissing it. Kissing a frog can be very dangerous to human health and depending on the species can cause sicknesses, vomiting, hallucinations and even death if the frog is highly poisonous.

Why Should you Not Kiss a Frog? You should not kiss a frog because they carry bacteria like salmonella. Kissing a frog can be very dangerous to human health and depending on the species can cause sicknesses, vomiting, hallucinations and even death if the frog is highly poisonous. It is also dangerous for the frog.

What Happens if you Kiss a Toad? Nothing will happen if you kiss a toad except that you can get very sick. Kissing a toad can be very dangerous to human health and depending on the species can cause sicknesses, vomiting, hallucinations and even death if the toad is highly poisonous.

Can Toads Give You Warts? Toads cannot give you warts because the virus that causes warts, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), is not carried by toads. If you have warts you did not get them from a toad and should seek medical attention.

Sources

Mayo Clinic: Common Warts – Symptoms And Causes

NCBI: Warts Overview