If you’ve spent any time outside this summer, you will probably have seen your fair share of animals out in nature. From insects to mammals, birds to reptiles, you probably have enjoyed the sightings and maybe asked yourself a few questions about why they are behaving the way they do!
One of the most common animals you have probably seen hopping around, is the American Toad. This amphibian is often found hopping on the forest floor, settling down into a bed of leaves and moss, or springing away from a freshly collected puddle. Toads are often thought of as cute creatures that spend all of their time sitting on toadstools. And more often than not, toads are fabled to be the cause of warts on humans.
Fortunately for us (and them!), toads cannot give you warts. This is just one of many myths that surround these animals. The reason why they cannot give you warts is because warts are caused by a human-only virus known as HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is a very common virus, with about 100 different types. Some are fairly harmless to humans (like the kind that causes warts) while others can cause cervical cancer. Warts are fairly easy to cure; there are many different medications available to rid yourself of them, but the best thing to do is visit your doctor to find out the best course of action.
Toads have 2 large glands on their backs, located just behind their eyes, called the parotoid glands. These glands look a lot like warts and may be the reason why people have believed this myth. They contain a chemical that can be toxic to smaller prey animals. They use this chemical as defense; when threatened by a predator they can release the substance to deter their predators.
Toads are amazingly well adapted for living in our forests. From their strong back legs for hopping to their lightning fast tongues for scooping up insects, these animals truly are a wonder of nature!