Dr. Tyrone Hayes, our favorite frog scientist, spent a few extra minutes to answer some common questions about frog myths for Podcast Beyond Belief. Check it out!
1. Can you get high from licking a frog?
I have never personally performed this act, but yes, you can get high from licking and/or drying and smoking a frog. It turns out that frogs have lots of toxins in their skin to ward off predators. In some species, toxins will actually kill you even if you get a very small amount ingested. In other cases, they’ll sort of make you hallucinate and sort of make you lose balance. If you were a predator, and you bit that frog, you might not die, but you’d remember to not bite that frog again. So the answer is “yes”, though I would not recommend it.
2. Is it possible for frogs to rain from the sky?
You know, that’s a story that even appears in the bible, of course. It’s not possible for frogs to rain from the sky, but I think often what happens when rain comes out, there’s frogs that may dry out and live underground that might appear to rain from the sky as they pop out. But, I’ve also heard stories of fish raining from the sky which usually involve “water funnels or water spouts” that pick up fish from the lake and cause them to come down and rain. Theoretically, that could happen to frogs.
3. Do frogs give warts?
The answer is no, and I think it comes from two places. One is that toads, which live on land, appear to have warty skin – dry skin with little bumps. I’ve also heard that warts are caused by a virus that can live in the mud. People who are hunting for frogs and toads that are digging around in the mud a lot are also more prone to get warts because they interact with the virus that lives in the mud. So, they don’t actually get the warts from frogs at all.