Genital Warts

Do toads give you warts?

Warts on humans may look like warts on toads. Is there any truth to the folklore that they’re related? We break down myth versus fact.
A happy white woman with long blond hair, glasses, and a pierced nose smiles as she holds a small toad in her palm.

Key Points

  • It’s a total myth that toads can give you warts. They can’t! Warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 200 kinds of HPV—but only some cause warts.
  • These kinds of warts are contagious. So you can get warts if you touch someone who has them.
  • Some warts clear up on their own. Medications, laser therapy and freezing can remove other warts.

Frogs and toads have been given a weird + mystical rap for centuries. Warlocks and witches required their venom and bones for magical brews. Frog skin stretched over grimoires. Kissed frogs transformed into handsome princes.

And if a layperson got too close? Their warty skin would give you warts!

Right? Wrong.

A virus causes warts—not toads and frogs.

Read on to learn what causes warts on the skin and genitals. And if you have warts? Get prescription treatments to control outbreaks via a $15 online consultation with Dr. B—no frog kissing required.

What are warts anyway?

Warts are rough, fleshy bumps caused by a skin infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). As the name suggests, this virus only occurs in humans—not toads.

Warts can appear anywhere on the body, including the hands, feet, face or genital area. Depending on their size and location, warts can range from mild inconvenience to create skin malformations that can interfere with bodily functions like peeing and pooping.

Are warts contagious?

Warts are contagious. You can get warts if you have a cut or break in the skin and come into contact with HPV. One type, genital warts, is a sexually transmitted infection. You can get genital warts from sexual contact with another person who has it.

Ways to get warts include:

  • Directly touching a wart if you have a skin break or cut
  • Touching a surface that has HPV on it (like a doorknob or bed linens) and then touching an open cut, sore or skin break
  • Cross-contamination from one wart on your body to another part of your body
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Shaving
  • Biting your nails or picking at cuticles

Can you get warts from toads?

There’s no need to panic if you come across a toad in the garden—toads can’t give you warts. But there are other reasons to avoid touching them.

On top of providing camouflage, the warts (or bumps) on toads are glands that secrete poisonous substances when the toad feels threatened. Some of these secretions can cause skin irritation—or worse—in humans. (So don’t kiss any frogs, okay?)

Are warts dangerous?

Of the more than 200 kinds of HPV, most are low-risk and don’t cause problems. But a few can cause cancer. Luckily, the HPV vaccine can help protect against infection with high-risk HPV.

The type of HPV that causes genital warts is low risk— so it does not cause cancer. But you may still want to treat warts. If they grow large enough, they can interfere with bodily functions, like going to the bathroom or childbirth. Also, some people find them uncomfortable or unsightly.

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How do you get rid of warts?

Sometimes, warts go away on their own as your body fights the infection. Depending on where the wart is, over-the-counter wart removal products may help—though they can take several months to work.

You can also get cryotherapy (freezing the wart) and laser therapy. If you have large or painful warts, or the wart is in a sensitive area, talk to a medical provider about the right treatment option for you.

When it comes to genital warts, some medications can help. They won’t cure the underlying condition—and you can still spread HPV to others, so it’s essential to practice safe sex. But they can help relieve symptoms.

Need prescription treatment for genital warts? Start a discreet $15 online consultation with Dr. B from the privacy of your own home—no video chat required.

A licensed provider will review your health history and symptoms. If appropriate, they’ll send a prescription to your pharmacy of choice within three working hours. That’s something to jump up and croak about!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2023). HPV vaccine.

Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Warts.

Cleveland Zoological Society. (2021). Truth or tail: toads can give you warts.

National Cancer Institute. (2023). HPV and cancer.

Wormwood, E.H. (2023). Toad lore: the natterjack at the edges of occult history. The MIT Press Reader.

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