By the time Harry arrived at Hogwarts, possession of a pet toad conveyed neither cool nor status; indeed, it was something of an embarrassment. Trevor, Neville’s toad, had nothing to commend him except a propensity for getting lost, and when he finally slipped off to join his brethren in the Hogwarts lake, both owner and pet felt a sense of relief.
The toad has a long association with witchcraft, and was often believed to be a familiar. It occupies a special place in old folk cures, particularly (perhaps on the homeopathic principle of curing like with like) in the curing of warts. In the Dark Ages, a British toad could think itself lucky if it died of natural causes, because it was in constant danger of being boiled, powdered, skinned or tied around a sick human’s neck in a bag.