#FridayFrogFact – Are There Any Poisonous Frogs In India?

The Poison Dart Frogs are the deadliest frogs in the world. When the poison from a Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is rubbed on an arrow head and shot at a monkey high up in the canopy – the monkey falls straight down. Natives living in Colombian rainforest used this technique to hunt. Forget monkeys, just one milligramme of poison from this frog is capable of killing 10 human beings. 

giphy_poison frog

Fortunately (or unfortunately) these incredible frogs aren’t found in India. In fact, there are no poisonous frogs in India. While most toads have poison glands behind their eyes, the poison from these glands isn’t capable of doing any major harm to human beings. Most people are worried that if they touch frogs something dangerous might happen to them. Yes, that might be true for people living in other countries but not here in India. We Indians don’t have to fear – our country is free from deadly frogs!

How bright the colours are on a frog’s skin, is an indicator of just how poisonous the frog is! Most poisonous frogs produce poison as a defence mechanism to fight predators. This poison, unlike venon is not used to kill its prey. Indian frogs although have different defence mechanisms. For example, the brightly coloured Fungoid frog (Hydrophylax malabaricus) is known to produce an unpleasant odour when touched. Most toads will either urinate or secrete poison on being touched or picked up. Based on my personal observations, I have noticed that when some people with very sensitive skin come in contact with toads, they feel a burning or itching sensation. Another interesting frog whose looks can be confusing owing to its bright coloration is the Malabar Torrent Toad (Ghatophryne ornata). Rightly named, it is found on the rocks adjoining fast flowing streams in the Malabar region. The frog has bright colours on the insides – over its belly and groins. Intelligently, when the frog senses danger it flips in the flowing stream acting dead and showing off all the bright colours to the predator. 

giphy poisonous frog

 

So the next time someone points out and talks about poisonous frogs from India, you’d know the answer – there aren’t any!

PS: I am not encouraging any of you guys to pick-up or touch frogs unnecessarily!

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3 Comments

  1. Hi, I would like to relate an incident that happened just an hour back. a tiny little frog jumped onto the bed that my daughter was sleeping on. I brushed it away, it came in contact with the skin on my arm. Then I forgot about it. Then about 5 mins later, the skin in that area starts itching. I give it a scratch and wash it. Then a little later my head feels a little dizzy and I feel a clench in my left arm and I also notice an increased heart rate. I quickly dismiss this as part of my anxiety issues. But a little later the dizziness really hits me and this time in an unignorable way. I quickly reach for my phone and Google for poisonous frogs in India and I get your site, reassuring me that there aren’t any. So I sit it out and wait for the effects to subside. Its almost an hour since I was attacked by this little amphibian and the palpitations have almost rested and dizziness has resolved. I have two fears remaining now, did this little bugger come alone or did he bring his friends to my daughters bed and I pray that he hasn’t sprayed onto my 3 week old daughter what he did onto me. She is sleeping now so I am not able to tell. We live in the Malabar area of Kerala. I was able to capture this mischief maker. If required I could send you a photo, to identify what species he belongs to. Your inputs on this is going to highly valuable.

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