Author: Alex Thompson

Are Common Toads Poisonous to Humans? What You Need to Know Reptiles & Amphibians

symptoms of toad poisoning in humans

Cases of cardiotoxicity in humans have been documented due to toad poisoning. It’s also common for small children to handle and try to lick a toad, not understanding the danger or general icky-ness of the act. Toad toxins are highly poisonous to cats and dogs, and many have been killed after grabbing the toads with their mouths.

Toads have toxic substances in the skin and parotid glands.1,3,4 Ingestion of toad or toad cake can lead to intoxication. Most toxic compounds of this venom are steroids similar to digoxin. Most patients have gastrointestinal symptoms consisting of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.

These toxins can cause a range of symptoms in humans, including nausea, vomiting, and even heart failure. Yes, common toads secrete toxins from their skin, but they are not considered dangerous to humans. Awareness of its clinical toxicity, leading to digoxin-like cardiovascular and gastrointestinal effects, is necessary. Increased vigilance and prompt initiation of life supportive measures with definite treatment with digoxin specific Fab fragments can be life saving. If a person were to ingest a toad, they would likely suffer a similar intensity of symptoms, up to the severity of even death.

symptoms of toad poisoning in humans

If you do experience any symptoms of poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. It’s important to note that while toad toxins can be dangerous to humans, they are not typically fatal. Most cases of toad poisoning in humans are mild and can be treated with supportive care. Decontamination is key, and it is the only treatment that can be done at home. Decontamination means removing the toxin by washing, rinsing, flushing, or irrigating with water.

Human poisoning

Our team of experts has years of experience researching, caring for, and solving any issue that may come up with your reptiles. So, be a friend to nature and her kin (remember, you’re part of nature too) and observe toads from a respectful distance and bid your adieu from afar. Good Samaritan or a budding zookeeper, you’ve just handled a toad and now you’re concerned you have been exposed to its poison. Also incredibly susceptible to toad poison would be an open wound. This allows the fast-acting toxin to directly enter the body and begin its wicked work. They’re found on nearly every continent, you hear them calling at night, and you might even see one hanging around in your yard…what are they?

symptoms of toad poisoning in humans

Eating common toads is not common, but it has been reported in some cultures. The consumption of toads can be dangerous, as their skin secretions can be more concentrated in their organs and tissues. Ingesting these parts can lead to severe poisoning and even death. Treatment for bufotoxin poisoning may include supportive care such as oxygen therapy, IV fluids, and medications to control symptoms. Common toads, or European toads, secrete a toxic substance called bufotoxin. This substance is found in the toad’s skin and glands and can harm humans if ingested or if it comes into contact with open wounds or mucous membranes.

Common Toad Species and Their Toxicity Levels

We carried out a retrospective study of patients with toad poisoning from the Ramathibodi Poison Center Toxic Exposure Surveillance System during a 5-year period (2012–2016). While bufotoxin can harm humans, it is important to note that not all toads are poisonous and play an important role in the ecosystem. When you think of the most feared poisonous animals, snakes are probably the first to come to mind and then maybe jellyfish, stingrays, and venomous spiders. If you hadn’t thought about amphibians—frogs, newts, toads, and salamanders—you won’t forget about them after reading this article. These fascinating animals are equipped with defense mechanisms deserving of much caution and fear. All toads have poison-carrying parotoid glands located behind their eyes on the sides of their heads.

  1. Toad tadpoles and juvenile toads, also known as toadlets, can also be toxic to humans as the specific toad species will carry the same active toxins as adults.
  2. One patient presented with cardiac arrest and eventually died in the ER.
  3. These toxins are incredibly harmful to animals, including predators and household pets.
  4. So not only do they compete with native toads for breeding space and feeding grounds, but they also eat a variety of native wildlife.
  5. If an individual comes into contact with bufotoxin, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

The study setting was a poison center of a tertiary teaching hospital in Thailand. Most queries to the RPC are from medical personnel; the RPC responds to approximately 15,000–20,000 consultation requests/year. Follow-up telephone calls are periodically made to collect data and monitor patient progress, to provide ongoing treatment recommendations, and to determine the patients’ medical outcomes. All cases are recorded in the RPC Toxic Exposure Surveillance System database and are verified by a team of information scientists and medical toxicologists.

More About Frogs And Poison

An invasive toad from South and Central America, the highly predacious cane toad was first introduced in Florida to sugar cane fields as a way to control pests, according to the University of Florida. If that’s not gross enough, they also have large triangular glands behind their heads that excrete a highly toxic white goo when the toads are stressed or grabbed. Pet frogs and toads are commonly known to spread Salmonella to humans. If you or anyone else experiences adverse reactions after handling a pet toad, seek medical attention immediately to get advice on how to proceed. Handling toads can also pose a risk of poisoning, especially if one has an open wound or cut on their skin.

Are Toads Poisonous to Humans? Vet-Approved Safety Facts & FAQ

Amphibians—frogs, newts, toads, and salamanders—are equipped with defense mechanisms deserving of much caution. Some of the potent toxins they produce include digoxin, tryptamines, and tetrodotoxin. These can cause a variety of symptoms such as irregular heart rhythm, dizziness, cardiac arrest, and paralysis. Typical known side effects of toxic toad species differ between animals and humans.

Benefits of Toads in Ecosystems

Similar to the toad and frog comparison, all newts are a type of salamander, but not all salamanders are newts. Frogs and toads look very similar, but there are some key differences. Frogs tend to have longer legs and smooth, moist skin while toads have shorter legs and dry, rough skin. The drier, rougher skin of the toad allows it to thrive on land while frogs are more likely to be found near water. A frog’s longer legs allow it to hop, whereas a toad, with its slightly shorter legs, tends to walk on land.

This poison delivery isn’t a continuous act, but instead performed when the toad feels threatened and it can happen instantaneously. And it’s not just the poison you have to worry about, toads also pee when they’re scared. The toxin can also cause skin and eye irritation in humans who handle the toads. If poisoning is suspected, use a hose and run water in the side of the mouth, flushing the toxin out and not down the throat while pointing the head downward, UF recommends. Pet treatment typically includes a trip to the emergency veterinarian. So not only do they compete with native toads for breeding space and feeding grounds, but they also eat a variety of native wildlife.

These poisonous secretions generally hold one or more of the following toxins in varying degrees, depending on various factors such as the toad species and the level of maturity. The risk for humans is considerably higher if they ingest the toxins, but involve other factors as well. These include the amount of toxin they ingest, the person’s age, any pre-existing conditions or ailments, and the toad species. Most patients (75%) admitted to the hospital had a median stay of 2 d (range 0.5–5 d). During the admission evaluation, one patient developed sinus bradycardia of 30–50 beats/minute, two developed bradyarrhythmia (specific type not recorded); however, all three patients were stable. No ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation were detected in any of the patients.