Are African Dwarf Frogs Poisonous?

African Dwarf Frogs are popular pets among aquatic pet lovers because they are very low maintenance and tiny. But have you ever wondered if these cute little frogs are poisonous?

African Dwarf Frogs are not poisonous to the human body. They do not produce or carry toxins. They are generally very safe to handle. However, you should maintain some basic precautions and distance while touching them. 

Out in the wild, many frogs and amphibians are highly toxic. They usually have a special kind of gland that produces toxins. They secrete toxins as a defense mechanism to attack or protect themselves from threats.

African Dwarf Frogs do not have this gland. That’s why they are poison-free, and you can pet them as safe aquatic creatures. 

Is It Safe If You Touch An African Dwarf Frog?

If you are a pet owner, you also know how much we love holding our pets. But can you hold an African Dwarf Frog? As bold as it is for us to say that African Dwarf Frogs are not poisonous, there are still many risks of touching them. African Dwarf Frogs carry Salmonella bacteria like other Amphibians. Salmonella bacteria are mostly dangerous for people with low immune systems, like children/older people, diabetes patients, cancer patients, etc. 

It is essential to maintain proper hygiene if you touch/handle an African Dwarf Frog. Wearing gloves or hand-washing is recommended when touching one of these aquatic creatures. This will help to prevent the potential spread of diseases caused by bacteria.

african dwarf frog swims on the surface of the water in the aquarium, close-up, top view,

Many poisonous frogs exhibit aposematism, a form of warning coloration, where bright and vivid colors signal to potential predators that they are toxic and not suitable as prey.

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Can African Dwarf Frogs Make Their Tank Water Toxic?

Typically, ADFs do not make their habitat toxic, as they don’t produce toxins. However, certain factors can pollute tank water if not maintained correctly. These are:

  1. Ammonia Buildup: African Dwarf Frog’s waste contains ammonia. High ammonia is toxic and harmful to frogs and other aquatic life in tank water. It can accumulate in tank water and level up ammonia if it is not removed correctly, filtered, or cycled.
  2. Decomposing Organic Matter: If any uneaten food, plant debris, and organic material is left in the tank, it can break down into nitrites and nitrates. These are very harmful toxins. It can not only pollute the tank water but also put the frogs’ lives at risk.
  3. Inadequate Filtration: If you don’t filter tank water from time to time, it can become stagnant. Thus, harmful substances accumulate and create a poisonous environment.

As ADFs themselves are not responsible for making tank water toxic, the outside factors must be properly monitored and maintained. Regularly checking water parameters and performing routine water changes can balance the healthy tank environment.

Chances of Getting Sick by African Dwarf Frogs

African Dwarf Frogs generally don’t transmit diseases to humans. However, they carry certain pathogens like bacteria/parasites that can cause illness if you handle them and do not practice proper hygiene afterward. ADFs can carry pathogens like:

  1. Bacteria: As I previously mentioned, they can carry harmful Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal infections in the human body. It is risky for people with low immune systems.
  2. Fungi: Fungal infections can be transmitted from one amphibian to another, however, it can also be a concern for you if you have a weakened immune system.
  3. Parasites: Amphibians like African Dwarf Frogs can host various parasites like Helminthes and Protozoa. These parasites don’t become a concern for the human body unless they are accidentally ingested.
african dwarf frog swimming inside tank
Owner: Bobbie Sissom

It is highly suggested to practice good hygiene while handling any Amphibians. The risk of getting any infections and diseases from African Dwarf Frogs can be minimized if you follow these 3 main steps:

  1. Try to wear gloves before touching/carrying them.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and disinfectants after handling them. Remember, you have to clean your hands even if you touch their habitat water.
  3. Avoid touching your mouth and face during or after contact with them.
  4. Avoid contact with them if you have weak immune systems or you are susceptible to infections.
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If Salmonella bacteria gets transferred to your body, there’s a high chance of getting sick, like having diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Some people may also be allergic to amphibians, which leads to skin irritation, respiratory issues, etc. 

Compounds from poisonous frogs have been studied for their potential use in medicine. For example, epibatidine, found in the skin of the Epipedobates tricolor, has been researched as a painkiller.

Are African dwarf frogs poisonous to Cats & dogs?

African Dwarf Frogs are not known to be poisonous to dogs, cats, or any other pets or humans. They are generally considered safe and are popular pets, often kept in home aquariums.

However, like with any pet, it is always recommended to wash hands after handling them or their habitat to prevent the potential transmission of any bacteria or parasites.

Additionally, it is always best to prevent pets like dogs or cats from interacting with or ingesting aquarium pets to avoid any potential health issues or stress to either animal.

Are African dwarf frogs poisonous to eat?

African Dwarf Frogs are not known to be poisonous, and there is no evidence to suggest that they contain harmful toxins if ingested.

However, consuming them is not recommended. Like all amphibians, they can carry parasites and diseases, such as Salmonella, that can be transmitted to humans and other animals, posing a risk if ingested.

Consuming wild or pet amphibians is strongly discouraged due to the potential health risks, ethical concerns, and conservation implications.

Frog Bite & What To Do: Infographic

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Final Words

People love getting African Dwarf Frogs as pets because they are non-lethal. But the main point here is you should stay cautious, although African Dwarf Frogs are not poisonous. Be careful about handling them, and maintain your hygiene and tank environment well. Go through this overall African Dwarf Frog care guidelines for more information.

If you are confused about your pet ADF’s health issues or are allergic to them, you should consult a doctor/vet before taking any step.

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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