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Are Tomato Frogs Poisonous? What You Need to Know

Are Tomato Frogs Poisonous

People have kept tomato frogs in captivity since the late 20s. So, responsible pet owners need to know if their pet is toxic. This will also help you to know about your tomato frog defense mechanism.

So, are tomato frogs toxic? Yes, they are. They have a particular skin secretion that helps deter predators. One component of this secretion is steroidal alkaloids. This substance makes them unpalatable to predators. Compared to other toxic frogs, tomato frog toxicity is mild.

Even though tomato frogs are not that toxic for humans, they may cause skin irritation and affect sensitive people a lot. Knowing more about how to handle these frogs and which treatment works in case of harm is very important.

Are Tomato Frogs Poisonous? An Overview

Tomato Frogs Poisonous

When they get scared or frustrated, tomato frogs excrete a slimy substance that is toxic and helps them against predators. If digested, it might kill the predator.

There are three types of tomato frogs. Dyscophus antongilii, Dyscophus guineti, and Dyscophus insularis. They are all poisonous, but depending on their type, the amount of toxicity varies.

Even though it’s not lethal for humans, much research has been done on their toxicity, its role in these amphibians’ lives, and what medication helps prevail over the effects if something happens. 

When scared, a tomato frog swells up, looks like a tomato, and becomes a large tomato frog. 

You can identify this frog by the table below:

Tomato Frogs Toxicity: A Necessary Evil

If the secretion is ingested or comes in contact with someone’s eyes or wounds, it will burn and cause serious irritation.

The fact these beautiful frogs come with little pricks in the form of toxic secretions might discourage people from handling them. But this exact thing is crucial for the survival of these frogs in the wild.

Tomato Frogs Toxicity

Aposematic Tactic to Warn About Poison

It is a very interesting phenomenon where many animals warn their predators by showcasing bright and bold colors. Tomato frogs warn their predators about their predators by exerting their reddish-orange skin.

Life-threatening if Swallowed

Many toxic substances are present in the secretion of tomato frogs. They all combined are mildly toxic for humans but can be deadly for other animals.

Steroidal alkaloids may cause severe illness and even death of the predators. It can also paralyze a predator. Other groups of alkaloids, such as indolizines, pumiliotoxins, and dihydro isoxazolidines, are also found in some secretions of these frogs. They can have neurotoxic effects on other animals.

Caution When Handling Tomato Frogs

Except for a little irritation on the skin, the alkaloid secretion of tomato frogs doesn’t really affect humans that much. But it may be harmful to sensitive people and children. 

Caution When Handling Tomato Frogs

Kids may end up touching their eyes or putting their hands in their mouths after touching a tomato frog. So, they need to be handled with caution.

  • Wash your hands before touching them to make sure there are no germs or bacteria in your hands that might harm them.
  • Wash your hands after handling it. Do not touch anywhere before a proper wash.
  • Wear surgical gloves for extra safety.
  • Don’t handle it too often. They like to be left alone.
  • Don’t put your finger in its mouth. They might bite you.
  • Be calm and gentle around them.

How to Cure if Affected by Toxic Secretion of Tomato Frogs

How to Cure if Affected by Toxic Secretion of Tomato Frogs

Usually, the worst that happens is skin irritation. But, from person to person, the effects may vary. You may end up having a rare allergic reaction to the toxic secretion of this Poisonous Frog.

  • Clean the affected area properly with soap. Then rinse with water properly. 
  • Change your clothes to make sure no other irritation will occur.
  • In case of redness or irritation, apply a cold compress. This will give relief to the affected area.
  • If the symptoms are severe, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Using Tomato Frog Toxic Components for Medicinal Purposes

It may be a surprise, but many frog toxins have the potential to be used in making medicine that can help cure infections, cancer, hemorrhage, heart disease, etc. Unfortunately, it’s all still in the research stage, and it will take a long time to develop any medication.

Steroidal alkaloids found in the secretion of tomato frogs also have the potential to be used for pain alleviation. It’s also being researched as it may impact cardiovascular function as well.

Using Tomato Frog Toxic Components for Medicinal Purposes

Its antimicrobial components may also be used in making antibiotics. There may also be a Therapeutic value of steroidal alkaloids in cancer that may be the key to developing revolutionary medication for cancer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

People who want to own tomato frogs as a pet usually get worried about their existing pets, as tomato frogs are poisonous. They are also confused about the tomato frog’s habitat, species type, etc. 

Are tomato frogs poisonous for dogs?

Yes. Depending on how much contact the dog had with the toxic secretion, the symptoms will vary. Vomiting, foaming, blindness, etc., can be some of them.

Are tomato frogs poisonous enough to kill cats?

If the cat swallows a tomato frog or stays in contact with it for a long time, then yes, the cat may die. It will also depend on how quickly the cat gets medical attention

Are all types of tomato frogs poisonous?

Yes, all three types of tomato frogs are poisonous. However, the toxicity level varies depending on age, gender, and species type.

Final Words

Tomato frogs are vibrant-looking, slow-moving frogs. Its bright colors make it stand out and are also very much alluring to reptile enthusiasts. Even if it seems boring compared to other frogs, they are also very adorable.

But before having them as pets, you should ask if tomato frogs are poisonous and see if you can take care of them or not. They may only be mildly harmful to humans, but unpredictable things may occur. So you should be ready for it.

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