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Witches, Warts, Frogs, and Toads: Amphibian Myths

Photo by Victoria Borodinova

Halloween is coming up soon, and you’ll likely see a few warty witches over the weekend. And that brings to mind a few amphibian myths that have popped up over the centuries.

Why, for instance, do witches always use toads in their potions? And did they really get those warts from frogs?

Let’s take a look at some amphibian myths that keep popping up in stories but just aren’t true…

Myth #1 Frogs and toads give you warts.

This myth has been around for a long time, and it basically says that picking up, touching, or handling frogs or toads can cause you to get warts on your skin.

Closeup of frog skin and eye

The truth:

Frogs and toads can have warty looking skin, but those aren’t actually warts on their bodies. They are glands for secretions. Warts on human skin are caused by a virus, and you can’t get it from amphibians.

You may, however, get a rash from the frog’s skin secretions.

Myth #2 Frogs can be used to cure illnesses.

Alternately, some folk medicine says that eating frogs, rubbing them on your skin, or wearing their dried organs in a pouch around your neck can cure various ailments. And stories about witches talk about them using frogs and toads in all kinds of magical cures and curses.

Wise looking frog

The truth:

You should probably leave your medical treatment to better proven methods or recommendations from your doctor. Certain species of frogs, such as bullfrogs, can certainly be eaten, but all they’ll give you is nutrition, not a magic cure.

See also  Want to Buy an Amphibian? Try These Pets - The Tye-Dyed Iguana

Myth #3 Kissing frogs turns them into princes.

The frog who turns into a prince upon being kissed by a princess is one of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. This story is so enjoyed that it has been passed down in many forms and made into movies. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), real frogs don’t turn into anything other than frogs.

Young girl almost kissing frog

The truth:

Kissing a frog is probably a bad idea. Rather than a happy ending, you’ll likely end up with a case of salmonella, which amphibians tend to carry.

Also, it’s not great for the frog. Because they absorb a lot of things through their skin, any chemicals in lip balm or other substances on your lips will get into their body. You can also pass on germs to your frog.

Myth #4: Frogs can be turned into poison.

Well, this one’s not entirely a myth, since some frogs and toads do, in fact, secrete toxic substances. However, you don’t really need to worry about whether someone brewed a frog-based poison and slipped it to you. All you really need to do to avoid this one is don’t lick frogs or toads.

Woman holding a potion

Do you know someone who is afraid of frogs or toads? This fear is called ranidaphobia.

One of the best ways to get over a fear is to expose yourself to the object of fear in a safe manner. At The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights, you can come in and see a variety of frogs and toads safely behind glass, where they can’t touch you…or kiss you.

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