The National Park Service Kindly Requests That People Stop Licking This Toad
A toad known for its hallucinogenic poison is getting a lot of unwanted attention.
The National Park Service has issued a very special request regarding a particular toad. Apparently, some park visitors are entering with the intention of licking the Sonoran desert toad. It's not due to any weird internet dare, either. People are doing this for an entirely different reason.
The toad's skin is apparently coated in a poisonous substance meant to ward off natural predators. But evolution didn't account for the fact that some of this toad's predators would be goofy humans looking for a trip.
"These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin. It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth," the National Park Service shared in a Facebook post. "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."
The post, ladled with froggy puns, is a rather sweet way to address a serious problem. The Sonoran desert toad has actually become threatened in recent years, according to NPR. Some are catching and collecting the toads specifically for their hallucinogenic properties.
I don't hold the authority of the NPS, but I echo the agency in urging everyone to refrain from licking any and all wildlife they encounter in the great outdoors. Leave No Trace includes your saliva!