Yes, you can have a toad as a pet and no, you won’t get warts from it. In fact, toads are just a subset of frogs that have slightly different features such as dryer skin and shorter legs.
Don’t let that dry bumpy skin turn you away though. Toads make excellent pets for both new and experienced reptile pet owners.
Some are more common and easier to care for of course, so for beginners is best to stick to these species.
Most Common Starter Species
Some toads are more difficult to care for than others. For your first toad pet you should consider one of the easier to care for species we explore here.
1. American Toad
Don’t be surprised if the first and most plentiful pet toads you see at expos, pet shops, on online shops is the American toad. They are very common and one of the easiest to care for.
They make good beginner pets because they are quite hefty and aren’t nearly as delicate as the other options below. They are also rather inquisitive and active, which makes them fun for adults and children alike.
The biggest drawback to American toads is not unique to their particular species. If you plan to handle yours you will want to take special care to always wash your hands before and after as they secrete skin toxins.
2. Red-belly Toads
Also known as bumble bee toads, red-belly toads are another option for your first pet toad. While not nearly as sturdy of a pet as an American toad, what they lack in stature they make up for with presentation.
These little guys are very bright and colorful. They have deep black skin that makes the yellow dots covering their backs really pop. And, they have red feet and rear ends, which can wrap around to their bellies.
There are a couple factors that make them on the easier side for owners. One is that they can be housed together because they are not going to fight or harm one another. Next is that they do not need massive tanks. Even their lighting, heat and humidity requirements are rather average.
3. Fire-bellied Toads
Not to be confused with red-belly toads, fire-bellies are a different species altogether. They also make great pets for those new to owning reptiles or toads.
Setting up their tank can be a bit of a challenge for first timers because these are aquatic toads. You’ll need an aquarium or more specifically a paludarium. But, once you get the heating, lighting and general setup worked out you should be good to go.
What makes them great for beginners is that unlike many reptiles they are up and active during the day as opposed to being nocturnal or crepuscular. It’s best to enjoy watching them in lieu of handling them as like many other toads their skin secretes toxins.
A Note About Toxins
All three of the toads above secrete different toxins from their skin. These toxins are actually what gives Fire-belly toads their amazing colors.
That being said, it’s best to minimize handling of your pet toad. The three above won’t do you much harm, especially if you are sure to wash you hands after handling. But, as much as they can harm you, you can harm them. Their skin isn’t used to all of the different oils on human skin and chemicals in soap you use.
Furthermore, dog owners have to be especially careful. You do not want your dog to eat your toad as it’s bad for the toad obviously but also for your dog due to the toxins.
Last, always source your pets from a respected seller. There are many other toxic toads that don’t make good pets, like cane toads. You don’t want to accidentally capture a dangerous one while herping.
Not all toads make great pets, but the three above are good for beginners as well as those with experience keeping reptiles. While American toads are the most common, bumble bees and fire bellies are great choices too.
But, if you don’t think toads are right for you, maybe you’ll be more comfortable with a frog.