National Park Service Reminds People Not to Lick Toads

The National Park Service provides plenty of reminders: don’t pet bison, keep your space from mama bears and their cubs, maybe avoid walking directly on boiling hot geothermal features at Yellowstone. Their newest recommendation makes you wonder: don’t lick toads.

In a recent social media post, the NPS brought attention to the Sonoran desert toad, which secretes a toxin people have apparently been using for its psychedelic properties. The toxin is released as a defense mechanism, though, and can be very harmful, particularly to dogs.


The post says, “It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth. As we say with most things you come across in a national park, whether it be a banana slug, unfamiliar mushroom, or a large toad with glowing eyes in the dead of night, please refrain from licking. Thank you.”

Pets face risks from a little lick, too. According to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, the toxins are released through several glands, and animals that are targeted with them become intoxicated through the mouth, nose, or eyes. In dogs that pick them up or put their mouths on them, this interaction can be deadly.


Does this toad have further powers, too? The NPS post seems to suggest so…

It begins, “Will it hypnotize you with its large oscillating multicolored eyes? That’s just silly….MUST SHARE TOAD FACTS!!!”

One of the facts? Its call is quick, low, and sounds like a toot. Who would have thought a toot could be mesmerizing?

Although the post seen above is a bit silly, it serves as an important reminder that it’s best to leave wild animals alone. It’s better for you, it’s better for your pets, and the wildlife probably appreciates it, too.

People, Pets & Planet

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