Put that toad down. Yes, you. In “should we really have to tell you this?” news, the National Park Service warns against licking toads. It turns out the toad, a Sonoran Desert toad, secretes a toxin that can have psychedelic effects. Those effects can also be deadly. So, the National Park Service is here to tell us to stop licking toads. It is not worth the risk. Their social media posts with the warning use an effectively spooky image of a toad with glowing eyes captured by a motion sensor camera. We learned about this post from Neatorama, with even more information coming from NPR.
Along with the amusing image comes the warning: “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 National Poison Control Center says licking toads for possible psychedelic effects was a fad in the ’80s. These days, people seem to be more into smoking the toad’s secretions. Either way, leave the toads alone.
Along with the very important advice to not lick this toad, the post goes into what toad calls sound like. And you know what? It’s kind of like a fart. The caption says, “Its call has been described as a ‘weak, low-pitched toot, lasting less than a second.’ Was that the toad or did something startle you?” So if you’re eating beans around a campfire in New Mexico or Arizona, where the toads are found, go ahead and blame them for any sounds you make. Just keep your dog away from them too, as the toxin is very dangerous.
It turns out that the National Park Service really does have to tell people everything. And they often do so in humorous ways that go viral. Unlike much of social media, the accounts always share good advice, like how to avoid bear attacks. There’s also other wholesome content like celebrating Fat Bear Week. So yes, you should absolutely follow the organization immediately.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.