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Are There Poisonous Frogs in Texas? (Beware of These Two)

Cane toads (Bufo marinus) and the pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris) are two poisonous frogs living in Texas. Bufo marinus frogs can be highly toxic to pets, while the pickerel frog has poison on its skin that can cause skin irritation if you touch it.

The cane toad is native to southern Texas. It’s a larger toad species that secrete poison to protect itself from predators. This poison is not harmful to humans, but it can be if pets come into contact with it.

The pickerel frog also has poison on its skin, and if touched, can cause irritation for humans.

Are There Poisonous Frogs in Texas

List of Poisonous Frogs in Texas

There aren’t that many poisonous frogs in Texas – the most notable ones are the cane toad and the pickerel frogs. 

1. Cane Toad (Bufo marinus)

The cane toad is native to southern Texas, as well as some Central and Southern American countries.

It is known for its voracious appetite, which is why it is often introduced into new habitats as a form of pest control.

The cane toad has strong defensive mechanisms. When it feels attacked or threatened, the cane toad will release toxins, which can be highly poisonous to some of its predators.

Related Article: 10 Frog Adaptations

How Dangerous are Cane Toads?

Cane toad poison will not usually cause major harm to humans, but it can be dangerous for pets and other smaller animals.

It often happens that the cane toad is perhaps eaten or attacked by a pet such as a cat or another domesticated animal. Pet owners need to be cautious of this and make sure they don’t mistake this type of toxicity with some other diseases.

Bufotoxin, as the poison of the cane toad is called, can cause seizures, heart arrhythmias, weakness, coma, and even death.

The treatment for the bufotoxin needs to be quick and prompt. The earlier it is treated, the better the prognosis.

If you happen to own a cat and live in southern Texas, then you should be wary about letting your cat come into contact with the cane toad, as this can cause severe reactions to the bufotoxin.

Both tadpoles and adult frogs are potentially toxic to animals that ingest them. Once they are eaten or hunted, they will start releasing toxins that can potentially kill the attacking animal. 

Related Article: Are Cane Toads World’s Dumbest Animals?

Where do Cane Toads Live?

The cane toad primarily lives in southern Texas, but also in Central and Southern American countries and can be found on the ground in areas with plenty of water.

Cane toads thrive in a variety of different habitats; they prefer moist areas where they can get enough moisture from the air, so they look for areas with plenty of water. They also like forested areas.

This frog will spend most of its time on or near the ground, hunting for insects and other smaller animals of prey.

It has a voracious appetite, which is why it is also often seen as a good way of natural pest control. It has even been introduced to various habitats that needed pest control.

Related Article: Can Frogs See in the Dark?

2. Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)

Pickerel frogs are poisonous and are native to the eastern part of Texas. Pickerel frogs typically live near cold water streams, lakes, as well as rocky areas and woods.

The pickerel frog will release toxins through its skin. These toxins act as a defensive mechanism against attacks from other animals, and these toxins get released as soon as the frog feels threatened.

The poison of the pickerel frog has the potential to seriously harm or even kill its predators.

Related Article: Do Frogs Have Bones?

How Dangerous are Pickerel Frogs?

For humans, pickerel frog poison can be irritating and might cause some mild to moderate irritation, but usually nothing serious.

For its predators, though, this poison can be fatal. Predators such as snakes, mammals, and other amphibians have been known to die due to the poisoning with this poison.

The most notable defensive mechanism of the pickerel frog is the secretion of toxins through its skin. Because of this toxin, the pickerel frog is often considered to be the only poisonous frog native to Texas and the rest of the United States.

Related Article: Can Frogs Breathe Underwater?

What do Pickerel Frogs Look Like?

Pickerel frogs have a spotty body with brown spots all over the lighter parts of the body. Females are usually larger and darker in coloration when compared to males.

Where do Pickerel Frogs Live?

The pickerel frog lives in various states of the United States, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, and of course, Texas.

You’ll find this frog anywhere where there’s a clean and cold water stream or source, including lakes and swamps. It can also be found in rocky and wooded habitats.

The diet of the pickerel frogs consists mainly of insects such as ants, beetles, larvae, and others. It will also eat spiders and other amphibians, occasionally. Most of the time, this frog will spend its time hunting in the grassy areas of its habitat.

Read More: Are Frogs Carnivores?

Are Texas Green Frogs Poisonous?

Texas green frogs are known for secreting very low levels of toxins when they are picked up or touched, but these toxins are usually not harmful to humans or other animals.

There are not many other poisonous frogs in Texas other than the pickerel frog and the cane toad. Some frogs might bite you and deliver painful bites, but those bites usually heal quickly and without many problems. 

Read More: How Poisonous are Green Tree Frogs?


There are only two frogs in Texas that are poisonous: the pickerel frog and the cane toad. These frogs release toxins through their skins when they are threatened, particularly when they are attacked by their predators.

The poison of the pickerel frog can cause minor skin irritation, but it usually doesn’t carry any significant adverse effect other than the irritation.

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