Poisonous Toads

Bufo Alvarius, also known as the Sonoran desert toad or the Colorado river toad. These species are one of the largest toad species found in North America, measuring about 7 inches. This toad has a unique low-pitch weak toot sound that they make as well as psychedelic toxins. The toxins excreted through the toad’s skin can make humans deathly sick. The National Park Service urged visitors to leave the deadly animals alone and not lick the poisonous creatures. It’s not known if a specific event caused these warnings to be put out, but the agency wrote the post anyway. “These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin,” the post said. “It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth.” 

As strange as it may sound that anyone would be tempted to lick an amphibian outside of a storybook, this particular animal is proving different. The toad’s toxins have been labeled as psychedelic, so people have begun to try and smoke the toxin to experience hallucinations and euphoria. The toxin is a defensive measure to protect the toad, which can be deadly to other animals, including dogs. 

​​Robert Villa, the president of the Tucson Herpetological Society, said, “The Times that so many humans’ taking the toads out of their habitats may put the toads at risk of population decline and extinction.” The Oakland Zoo stated, “One of the chemicals found in the toad’s skin, bufotenin, is illegal to possess in California, but in neighboring Arizona, one can legally capture up to 10 toads with the proper license.” The Oakland Zoo also mentioned that people could be at risk of criminal charges if their intent to capture the toads is for the purpose of smoking their toxins.   

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