20180217A crapaud www.lfwa.org.jpg
No, handling a toad won’t give you warts. Source: http://www.lfwa.org

Decidedly, old misconceptions have a long life! I thought the myth that touching a toad will give you warts was a thing of the past, but just recently a reader emailed me asking if it were true.

The answer is … of course not!

This old belief comes from the fact that the toad’s body seems covered with warts, but in fact, it isn’t. The protuberances that cover its body are glands that help keep its skin moist, not warts. And some of these glands release a poison to discourage its predators and therefore it’s always best to wash your hands after handling a toad, otherwise it could cause skin irritation on some individuals … but not warts!

20180217B nature.mdc.mo.gov.jpg
There is rarely a good reason to handle toads anyway. Just let them be. Source: nature.mdc.mo.gov

Anyway, there is rarely a good reason to manipulate a wild animal, not even something as docile as a toad.

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and spread by touch from one infected person to another. The virus  can also live on surfaces for some time, so it’s not wise to walk barefoot in a public place. But warts never come from animals.

Toads are beneficial creatures that consume many plant predators (insects, slugs, etc.) and, as such, we should encourage their presence in our gardens, but we don’t normally have to handle them. Just let them live their life, period!

War Flowers copy.png

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

0 comments on “Garden Myth: Toads Give Warts

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: