Is Frog Pee Poisonous?

Since contact with certain toxic frog species poses serious risks for humans and animals, many animal lovers have begun questioning whether all frogs can be harmful beneath the surface. There is plenty of confusion regarding whether other frog body parts or fluids can be poisonous, especially concerning urine. 

Frog pee is not poisonous but it may contain harmful bacteria that can cause skin irritation or infections if it enters the mouth, eyes, nose, or open wounds. Frogs may also carry salmonella and viral diseases on their skin. It is crucial to wash the area of contact with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after contact.

Frog urine is not poisonous, however, frog urine may contain harmful bacterial diseases, and their skin may carry viral or bacterial diseases such as salmonella. Poisonous frog species use their toxins as a primary form of defence, although they may also urinate if they are afraid.

Toxic frog species secrete poisonous substances from their skin or glands, which they use to deter predators. Different frog toxins have various side effects, ranging from irritation to fatalities. If the frog is a toxic species, the primary area of concern will be any contact with these poisonous secretions, not the frog’s urine. 

Although frog pee will generally not cause any toxic side effects, there are still numerous risk factors to consider. Join me as I discuss if frog urine is harmful, why frogs may pee on you, the risks of interacting with frog urine, and how to avoid negative outcomes if you come into contact with it.

Can Frog Pee Be Harmful?

While frog pee is not poisonous, this does not mean it is safe for humans or animals to ingest or consume frog urine. Frog urine is not sterile, and it can contain numerous forms of potentially harmful bacteria which can cause health problems or illnesses.

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At the surface level, the bacteria contained in frog urine may cause nothing, or cause different degrees of skin irritation depending on how much and long is on the skin. Skin irritation is more probable when the urine has only touched the epidermis, commonly experienced on the hands and forearms. 

When a frog pees on a human or animal, the major area of concern is the potential for infection. The bacteria housed in frog urine generally has the biggest impact if it finds its way inside the body.

Frog urine that finds its way into open wounds (scrapes and cuts), or the sinuses (eyes, mouth, nose) can cause illness or infections. The type of infection and the level of severity depends on numerous factors, such as the specific bacteria contained in the frog’s pee as well as the vulnerability of the wound itself. 

Infections generally occur if the frog pees directly into the mouth (common for predators that pickup frogs to eat them) or if a human touches their face (predominantly the mouth, eyes, and nose) with unwashed hands after a frog has peed on them during handling (CTNF).

Why Do Frogs Pee On People?

While frogs can pee to rid themselves of bodily waste, like humans and many other animals, peeing can also be a form of self-defense. It is fairly common for frogs to pee on those that pick them up or when they feel stressed, threatened, and afraid. Peeing on the potential predator often aids their survival chances in the wild. 

This defense mechanism predominantly works by triggering negative reactions in natural predators’ senses, as frog urine generally has an unpleasant odor and taste. The smell frequently indicates that the frog may be unsuitable for consumption, enabling the frog to survive due to the predator’s change of heart. 

Similarly, frogs often pee on humans when they go into self-defense mode, although it usually works differently. Humans are far more likely to let go of the frog once they get peed on, allowing the opportunistic frog to evade capture and flee from the scene before facing the assumed dangers.  

What To Do If A Frog Pees On You

If a frog pees on you do not panic, as this sort of reaction will likely worsen the scenario. Place the frog down gently, ensuring that it is not harmed in the process. Follow appropriate hygiene practices to avoid health risks. 

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It is fairly easy to notice when a frog pees on the handler, as they are typically quite dry. If a frog pees on you, take it as an indication that the frog is not happy with the situation. It may be afraid of being handled by such a large and intimidating creature, or handling methods may be too rough and abrasive (CTNF).

How To Avoid The Risks of Frog Pee

Although frog urine poses minimal risks compared to potentially toxic secretions, handlers and curious animals can still suffer from some rather unpleasant side effects. Thankfully, it is easy to avoid the associated irritations and infections with the following protective measures. 

  • Wear Gloves During Handling: Using gloves while handling frogs can be one of the easiest ways to protect your skin from irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin or open hand wounds. Wearing gloves is always a better option as it also protects the frog from any potential bacteria carried by the handler. 
  • Avoid Touching Your Face: Keep the frog and your hands away from your face, whether or not it has peed on you. This will not only lower the chances of frogs peeing into your face but may slightly lower the frog’s stress levels. 
  • Wash The Area of Contact: Always wash your hands and areas of contact with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This will wash away the bacteria before it has time to get comfortable on your skin or find a way inside the body. 

Although it can be startling to notice that a frog has peed on you during handling, it is important to place the frog down carefully. Frightened and panicked responses to such instances can pose serious risks for these little creatures, as they can become injured if they are not properly prepared for landing. 

More Guides to Understand Frog Pee

We have multiple guides on how to protect yourself and the frog in a number of cases, definitely check them out to learn more:

About The Author
Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.