While we’re not the type of people to go out licking animals, it seems that the National Park Service is pretty adamant that we shouldn’t do this. In particular, we should not lick the Sonoran Desert Toad (or Colorado River Toad). Sure, to some this might feel like the NPS is just sucking the fun out of your life.
However, they do have a good reason for not licking this toad. First, you should be aware that toads are not always harmless. They can sometimes contain various toxins on their skin that could actually kill people. Thus, even touching them will require you to wash your hands after.
Yet this particular toad, one of the largest in North America, offers something that other toads do not. This is truly what the National Park Service is worried about.
Don’t Lick The Toads
These toads have very prominent parotid glands. What does that mean and why should you care? These glands are able to produce and secrete a toxin that can affect humans.
This can make humans sick even just by touching the toad and will especially harm them if they put the toad in their mouth. In fact, the toxin they secrete is enough to kill a full-grown dog, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. That is saying something.
Why would anyone be concerned about a person putting a toad in their mouth or licking them? Well, technically, it all boils down to the toxin they produce out of those glands we referred to. Sometimes, toxins from animals have been used to offer a specific “experience.”
The Psychedelic Nature
Essentially, the toxins from these toads have been exploited for many years now. Normally, the toxin will be broken down and smoked to offer a powerful psychedelic experience. This can be quite amazing, according to those who have smoked the stuff.
It offers a form of euphoria and strong auditory hallucinations. Yet the main toxin, known as Bufotenin, is capable of killing animals and making humans sick. Therefore, it is actually illegal to possess it in states like California.
The weird part is that the psychedelic nature of the toxin is at its strongest via smoke. At the same time, it is also far less dangerous than the full-on toxin secreted out. Therefore, licking these toads will potentially offer some psychedelic material but will more likely just make you sick.