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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on November 27, 1999 at 19:12:35:
HARTFORD COURANT (Connecticut) 16 October 99 Kids Cautioned To Wash Hands If They Touch Frogs
Notice to children who pick up frogs: Wash your hands afterward.
A Nevada man who was visiting in Wilton with his children reported that after they handled a frog they got a painful burning sensation in their eyes that lasted about 30 minutes.
Can frogs in Connecticut do that?
The frog the children handled likely was a gray tree frog, and it can secrete a toxic substance, said Kentwood D. Wells, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut and an authority on frogs.
Gray tree frogs won't normally irritate your hands if you pick them up, but if you rub your eyes after handling them, you can irritate your eyes, Wells said. It once happened to a student of his.
"It's not likely to do any lasting harm, but it is painful," he said.
Most likely to cause a problem are the gray tree frog and the pickerel frog, two common species in the state. Both have bright orange on their back legs, a color that many species use as a warning to predators.
Other species such as the American toad and the bullfrog appear to be less of a threat, Wells said, but some salamanders, including the red eft and the spotted salamander, can also secrete a toxic substance.
"For kids especially it is a good idea to wash their hands after handling any animal in the field," he said.