Don’t believe the myth that toads can give you warts. The truth is that toads get warts from humans; humans don’t get warts from toads. Toads need to be handled with plastic gloves because any bacteria on human hands can get into their skin and give them skin sores. There are aquatic toads and terrestrial toads and several species within each type of toad. Be sure to find out the name of your toad and research specific needs and likes/dislikes before deciding to purchase one or adopt one that was captured in the wild.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

While a reptile can be sick for months, by the time an amphibian’s symptoms are visible to the human eye, he is already close to death. Most of the time toads are not surrendered because once they get sick they die quickly. Other times, people think of a toad as “disposable” and easily replaced, so they are rarely taken to a reptile rescue.


Contrary to popular belief, the toad does not hop—he walks. They can actually be endearing with a pop of personality and, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some toad owners say their toad “has the cutest little face.”


The toad is not a pet that sits on your lap or fetches your newspaper. But she will watch you because you are the one with the food.


The toad is an insectivore that likes waxworms, mealworms, and crickets. However, some toads will also eat turtle pellets and be satisfied with an occasional nightcrawler as a treat. The toad will not chew her food, but swallow it whole. An aquatic toad doesn’t get thirsty because her water supply soaks into her skin. The “land toad” will need a shallow water bowl, which she will certainly use as a bath at times. Toads like to hop in and out of their water dish and can drag bacteria into their drinking water.


Because toads need sunshine, you may want to take your toad outside on a sunny day. Although the toad can enjoy being handled, remember that you need to use plastic gloves when handling your toad.

  Possible Health Issues

An aquatic toad has very sensitive skin and needs to be handled with gloves. The bacteria on your fingers can be harmful and even deadly to the toad.


You can make a home for your toad in a ten-gallon fish tank using a screen on top. An aquatic toad needs fresh filtered water (not tap water) and possibly lily pads on top of the water where they can rest. You will basically set up a tank for an aquatic toad much as you would set up a fish tank. If you have an aquatic newt or toad, you need a weak ultraviolet light source. Be sure to place a weak ultraviolet light inside at about two percent strength. The toad needs UV light (not a heat lamp) for her bones. Terrestrial (land) toads generally like a home’s room temperature and you may use a puppy pad on the bottom of the tank for easy cleanup. On hot summer days, you may need to place wet cold towels over the tank to keep it cool inside. Both aquatic and terrestrial toads will want plastic plants to hide under, and the tank should be misted with a spray bottle daily. Be sure to purchase your plants at a pet store as other plastic plants can exude a toxin that will kill amphibians and reptiles.


Aquatic toads will need fresh filtered water much like a fish needs fresh filtered water. Don’t set the water filter on high or you could pull the toad into the filter. Clean up can be made easier for terrestrial toads if you use a disposable puppy pad (found in pet stores) on the bottom of the tank and remove the old and replace it with a fresh puppy pad every two or three days.


The toad cannot be trained to do tricks, but you can put on your gloves and take him out once or twice a day for a few minutes so he gets used to being with you. At some point, he may hop onto your hand when you put it into the tank.


A toad is a toad is a toad! If you provide the right habitat, your toad will enjoy his life (in the water or on land) and entertain himself without special toys.                                                                                        

We want to thank Reptile and Amphibian Rescue of Los Angeles, California, for help with this profile.

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