With the exception of Antarctica, every continent in the world is home to more than 4,700 different species of frogs. They are available in many colors and sizes. Some are aquatic, some are terrestrial, and some are arboreal. But do frogs have poison? Moreover, how harmful are they if so?
You might be shocked to find that toads and frogs contain poisons on their skin. A frog uses these poisons as a means of defense against predators. They can be harmless or harmful.
Toxins are regarded as poison since they are a chemical that may be swallowed or absorbed. This kind is known as “bio-toxins” or “natural toxins” by scientists since it is created by a living thing.
This article aims to introduce you to biotoxins and teach you how to recognize deadly frogs.
Most frogs are safe to people, so don’t be alarmed. However, there are a few species that are genuinely harmful. I’ll teach you how to recognize them based on how they seem and where they are in the globe.
Do Tree Frogs Bite?
Any animal with fangs, a beak, or pincers has the potential to sting or bite. Tree frogs do the same, although infrequently. They make good pets since they are not aggressive amphibians. Tree frogs make an effort to avoid interacting with people or any other creatures that are much larger than they are.
But frogs may bite when they come in contact with humans, especially while they’re eating. When being fed, pet tree frogs may inadvertently bite their keepers. However, there is no need for concern. Bites from tree frogs don’t harm. Because they lack teeth and the jaw power to administer a painful bite, tree frogs cannot bite.
The majority of tree frog bites are similar to being struck by a wet marshmallow.
Most frog species, including the tree frog, produce poisons via their skin to fend off enemies and undesirable dangers since they are unable to bite forcefully to protect themselves. The skin of the tree frog resembles that of salamanders and newts.
It is vulnerable to and absorbent of toxic substances from its surroundings. Because of this, handling and touching them may endanger the subjects as well as irritate human skin.
Aside from the poisons that are present in their skins, salmonella bacteria, which can lead to digestive disorders in humans, can also be carried by tree frogs. Their skin can emit toxins from their toxin glands that can irritate people’s skin or cause allergies.
Identifying The Dangerous Frogs
The “dangerous” frogs are the ones that carry poisons that might be fatal if handled or consumed. You should stay away from them. Fortunately, they aren’t numerous and are simple to spot.
They belong to the Dendrobatidae family, which is often known as the family of poison dart frogs. The Central and South American jungles are home to these colorful frogs. Although they are attractive, they contain a potent alkaloid poison called batrachotoxin (BTX), which when ingested causes paralysis.
Due of the popularity of dart frogs, baschotoxin is probably the most well-known amphibian toxin (Dendrobatidae).
Not All Frogs Are Poisonous to Humans
Not every frog is deadly or harmful to humans. However, all frogs may be carriers of salmonella and other human-transmissible viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Since this is the case, washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after handling a frog is essential.
Contrary to common misconception, even though all frogs have glands that generate mucus, not all frogs are toxic or harmful to humans. Frogs may, however, spread viral illnesses, much like many other wild animals. Salmonella, which can cause cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headaches, and, in extreme instances, death, can be carried by frogs.
According to the CDC, there are 15.2 salmonella-related fatalities for every 100,000 persons in the country.
Therefore, although frogs do not have venom that might kill you, they can infect you with a virus if you do not handle them properly, making them relatively harmful to humans (CTNF).
Learn more about the many frog species, such as tree frogs (arboreal), aquatic frogs (dwell in water), and terrestrial frogs (toads), in the video below. We’ll use this knowledge to discern which frogs are dangerous.
Learn more about which frog species are dangerous and how to handle them properly by reading on.
Where Poison Frogs Live
You may decide whether or not you should be concerned by learning where poison-dart frogs can be found. They can’t live in much of the US, Canada, or the UK since they can only thrive in a warm, high-humidity rainforest habitat.
South and Central America are home to indigenous poison dart frogs. In the humid jungles, where they flourish,
Up to Nicaragua in Central America, including portions of Bolivia and Brazil in South America. Green and black dart frogs were additionally brought to Hawaii.
We’ve discussed the most hazardous frogs thus far, their appearance, and whereabouts. But the Anura order has more toxic species than only frogs. Toxins are also found in toads.
American Toads Are Poisonous to Pets
In general, American or Canadian toads are very toxic to animals, but not to people. Make sure to immediately wipe and wash out your cat or dog’s mouth after they eat or lick any type of toad and take them to the clinic.
Check out the following article on our website that explains the distinction between toads and frogs if you’re not sure whether they interacted with one or the other (CTNF).
Are Tree Frogs Poisonous?
The poisonous secretion of tree frogs does not harm people, despite this. However, even dogs can be harmed by their poisons. It makes sense why the majority of people believe that most frog species are toxic.
Because some of them are, that is. One of the most deadly amphibians in the world is the poison dart frog. Tree frogs, on the other hand, have poison glands that only secrete mild emetic chemicals that are harmless to people.
Despite having strong emetic poisons, certain tree frog species, notably the green and gray tree frogs, do not affect people. These two amphibians are among the best-known in Georgia and Louisiana, where they are also well-liked as pets.
Both toxic and non-poisonous frogs exist. A frog’s color can be used to determine if it is dangerous or not. Some amphibians with striking colors are deadly to humans, such as the poison dart frog. However, tree frogs only result in minor skin rashes, while Salmonella is the absolute worst case scenario.
Cane Toads Are Invasive And Toxic to Humans
To people and animals alike, cane toads can be fatally venomous. They are one of the few toads in North America that, if their poisons get into the circulation of a human, can cause serious health problems. Cane toads are invasive species in Florida and Australia and are native to South America.
What Poison Dart Frogs Look Like
The color of poison dart frogs is what distinguishes them from other species. Poison-dart frogs come in more than 100 different species, each with unique hues, patterns, and dimensions. Here are two examples in the form of images.
Consider the many hues. The one on the left is black with yellow-green stripes on the back and blue and green spots on the legs. The right one is mostly yellow. Can you find the parallels? The overall structure and form are same. Both have dark eyes and a sharp nose.
The deadliest frog belongs to the Phyllobates Genus. Phyllobates terribilis, which loosely translates to “dreadful leaf-climber,” is its scientific name. The common name for this species is Golden poison frog. Adult golden poison frogs are thought to possess enough venom to kill two fully grown elephants.
Only a few number of Dendrobates species are thought to be lethal to humans. In reality, at the time I was writing this, I couldn’t discover a single published account of a frog-related death.
According to researchers, poison frogs create poisons after ingesting insects that contain alkaloids. In reality, dart frogs have been successfully kept as pets by enthusiasts for many years. They are not toxic since they do not have access to insects that carry alkaloids in captivity.
Informative Statistics About Animals in Color
Bright colors provide a warning to animals to stop. “I’m a threat.” Bright colors frequently serve to prevent would-be predators from attacking, therefore this technique generally works.
Aposematic is a word for this warning colour. The dart frog, for instance, exhibits aposematic coloring.
Not all colorful frogs are as dangerous. Some species resemble deadly frogs in appearance, but their toxins are far weaker. Others just have vivid hues as a result of years and years of regional adaptation.
To get a visual of what poison-dart frogs look like, use the graphic and images above. This will enable you to determine whether a frog is toxic or not, coupled with what you have studied. It will help you recognize the risky ones more precisely.
What to Do if Your Cat or Dog Ingests Toad Poison
While not all toads are dangerous to cats and dogs, not all frogs are poisonous to people. Drooling, difficulty breathing, dark red gums, vomiting, agitation, collapse, convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and death are a few of the side effects.
If you can, wipe your pet’s mouth while you phone a vet right away and let them know what sort of frog your pet ate. This will benefit you specifically while also helping your pet. Consult a veterinarian if you need extra assistance since they will be able to help your pet individually.
Is Handling Tree Frogs Dangerous?
Tree frogs are not dangerous or aggressive. Skin irritations and Salmonella germs provide the greatest hazards while touching them. However, the tree frog will benefit the most if you don’t handle them.
Holding them with unclean hands can transmit the toxins from your hand to their skin since their skins absorb oxygen and other chemicals from the environment. These substances are easily absorbed by tree frogs, which might impair their immune system. Immune systems that are compromised will let germs in, leading to disease in tree frogs.
Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs Can Irritate Your Sinuses
Although the skin secretions of the Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs might irritate the sinuses, they are not toxic to humans. It is crucial to avoid contact with your eyes, mouth, nose, or open wounds after handling a Cope’s Gray Treefrog and to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Are Tree Frogs Dangerous to Humans?
Although tree frogs may have poison glands under their skin, they are not harmful to people. They cannot release enough poison at such low concentrations to harm people or other animals or cause serious consequences.
The only concerns that these amphibians bring to people are skin allergies, skin rashes brought on by the toxins in their skin, and salmonella transmission, which can cause stomach upset. It is not recommended to handle a tree frog unless absolutely required.
This is so that tree frogs may easily absorb poisons, pathogens, and chemicals from human hands thanks to their very absorbent skin. Tree frogs’ immune systems may be weakened if they take in hazardous compounds from your hands.
The tree frog can become extremely ill from ingesting even a tiny amount of substances off your hands, such as soap, oil, or even salt.
More poisons are found in certain tree frog species than others. When under stress, tree frogs emit a poisonous and emetic chemical. Animals (particularly smaller ones like dogs) are made to vomit by emetic chemicals. Even without treatment, pets often only experience short-term vomiting that lasts 30 to 60 minutes due to this toxin’s lack of danger or harm.
Tree frogs are peaceful amphibians that don’t bite. Because they are frequently calm and submissive, they can make wonderful terrarium pets. However, they don’t require human affection as other animals do, and they shouldn’t be touched frequently or at all.
The tree frog should be handled gently and, to the extent feasible, using gloves. This can reduce the possibility that you will injure your frog or that you will get Salmonella or germs from the tree frog.
Additionally, certain species of tree frogs have such a fragile physique that rough handling might shatter some of their bones. Aside from the poisons in your body, tree frogs can experience stress due to things like bad water or overpopulation, which can impair their immune systems.
Possible Effects of Frog & Toad Toxins on Humans
Humans who consume deadly frog poison, such as Poison Dart Frog or Cane Toad Poison, may experience paralysis, excruciating agony, hallucinations, and perhaps even death. Batrachotoxin, which can harm the victim’s neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory, or gastrointestinal systems, is often carried by poisonous frogs.
Milder toxins may just cause swelling, nausea, vomiting, or itching, depending on the kind of frog. The severity varies based on the species, the quantity of batrachotoxin or bufo toxin consumed or that entered the bloodstream, as well as other elements like pre-existing medical disorders.
If you or your pet consumed toad or frog poison, get immediate medical attention from a licensed physician in your region.
Batrachotoxin currently has no known antidote, which is unfortunate. If you come into touch with a deadly frog, wash your hands right away and call the nearest hospital (CTNF).