Warts have been a common affliction on humans both young and old for centuries. Therefore it is no surprise all manner of sources have been cited as the cause. Playing with frogs or toads is one of the most commonly repeated origins for this skin problem. Now in the internet age where information is more readily available, frog origin sayings have slowly began to die out entirely. Why? It is simple. The answer to can you get warts from frogs or toads is a clearly refuted by science.
Table of Contents
Warts from frogs: A myth or a reality?
Being so well-known and often repeated inclines people to believe there is truth to the saying warts are caused by frogs. The labeling of warts as a sexually transmitted disease or infection has not helped this fact as warts are often seen on young children which doesn’t appear to make sense. This conundrum has led to many people unknowingly accepting the myth that warts are caused by frogs even when it has been proven not to be true.
The warts from frogs myth is what is known as an old wives’ tale. These are usually very popular myths passed down over centuries to explain the unexplainable at the time. Weird growths that you couldn’t just shave or cut away were certainly unexplainable many years ago. To find out why shaving warts is ineffective, read this page. Now due to advances in science we can generally dismiss most of these tales, including this one about developing warts by handling frogs. Granted there are a few old wive’s tales that have proven to be true, but the wart myth is not one of them.
Do frogs cause warts?
Frogs do not and can not cause warts because we now know warts are caused by a virus. Before you begin considering that this virus is or can be secretly carried by frogs, know that it has been well researched and found impossible. One thing to consider is that warts exist everywhere humans do and many places frogs do not and cannot exist. If warts were truly caused by frogs, warts in these areas would be nonexistent or nearly so.
You cannot get warts from:
- Catching frogs.
- Eating frogs or frog legs.
- Keeping a frog as a pet.
- Holding a frog or bumpy-skinned toad.
Many ancient old wives’ tales were started to control and influence the behavior of children. From scary stories about sucking thumbs and terrifying results for girls who constantly play with boys, the wart myth is no different. Probably intended to dissuade children from perusing the terrified animals as toys, the myth of frogs causing warts has prevailed. Bottom line, warts are not a contagious skin problem obtained from frogs. Are warts contagious in general? Find out here.
Can I get warts from toads?
Along with the warts from frogs myth, being able to contract warts from toads is also a very common myth. Just like frogs however, this is entirely untrue and you cannot get warts from toads. The developing warts from toads myth began due to the fact that toads have very bumpy skin. These bumps were assumed to be warts in the past and thus propagated the myth. It also doesn’t help that there is a species of toad called the warty toad, further spreading the untruth.
Just keep in mind these few facts:
- A toad’s bumps are not warts.
- Toad toxin can poison you and your pets, but not cause a disease.
- You can get salmonella from toads but never warts.
The bumps on a toad’s back are not warts at all. The reasoning for these bumps is that they help hold moisture. Unlike smooth-skinned frogs, toads aren’t always around a water source so the ability to hold moisture is far more important. So do not worry about developing warts when you see or handle a toad with multiple bumps on its skin. There are truthful reasons to be wary of handling wild toads however, which are explained below.
Another potential reason for the false belief that warts can come from toads may be due to the toxic capabilities of the toad. Some bumps on the toad’s skin are actually glands that secrete toxic substances that taste bad to ward off predators. In some species, these substances can irritate the skin of animals and humans or even kill them. In cases where there is an irritating effect, bumps may appear on your skin after handling because of this irritation. For most toads encountered in the U.S. this is often just a rash that will go away and not a preemptive sign of wart development.
If frogs don’t cause warts, what does?
The truth about what really causes warts is far less interesting than the mysterious appearance of warts after frog handling. Warts are caused by a virus known as the human papillomavirus. You may be familiar with animal diseases that can infect humans such as the avian flu. In the case of HPV however, this human virus can not and does not infect any other animals on the planet. So toads, frogs and even primates cannot carry or spread HPV which causes warts.
The ability to catch warts is the biggest myth in itself. You can not catch warts, you can only be infected with HPV. Even then it is more of a flip of a coin whether you will ever develop warts at all. The virus will not make you sick or feel any differently than normal and thus the great majority of people never even know they have it. Warts themselves are harmless and cause more fear than they truly deserve.
HPV is the only virus that causes warts in humans so you can be sure you have HPV if you develop warts regardless of type. All warts including genital warts are caused by it. In most cases your body will defeat the virus eventually and send it into remission, at which point your warts will be a thing of the past, likely to never to bother you again. To learn more information about what causes warts, visit our detailed article found here.
How do people get HPV that causes warts?
Warts are extremely common and have been mentioned since humans began documenting afflictions many millennia ago. You do not need to do anything special or out of the ordinary to contract HPV and develop warts. While the virus is clearly not new, our understanding of it is somewhat recent when compared with its existence. We now know that HPV exists everywhere people do and is rather hard to avoid. It can easily be found on doorknobs in public places, showers and nearly anywhere people come in contact with.
Some other common ways include:
- Sharing washcloths or towels with people with warts.
- Sex with people with genital warts.
- Everyday activities in public places.
- Touching the warts of other people.
As such, avoiding HPV is nearly impossible and most people have come in contact with or are infected by it at some point. The virus does not cause warts in everyone, only certain people with a preference for weak immune systems. So while you cannot get HPV or warts from a frog, you could merely by opening the door to your favorite store. Before you worry unnecessarily, think of it like the common cold, flu or any other germ or virus. All of these exists everywhere on nearly every surface, but you do not have the flu year round there is only a minute chance of contracting it.
You can find further details of Warts here.