Stop licking toads. That’s the warning from the National Park Service (NPS) about the Sonoran Desert toad because its potent toxin can make people sick.
“They have prominent parotid glands that secrete a potent toxin,” the NPS wrote in a Facebook post. “It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth.”
Sonoran Desert Toad
In the post, the National Park Service described the Sonoran Desert toad, also known as the Colorado river toad, as one of the largest toads found in North America. It measures nearly 7 inches.
“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. Toot!” the NPS wrote.
According to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, animals that harass them are generally intoxicated through the mouth, nose, or eyes. The toxins are strong enough to kill full-grown dogs that pick up the toads.
Where They Are Located
The Sonoran Desert toads are commonly found in:
- Southern Colorado
- Southwestern New Mexico
- Southeastern California, where they are now classified as endangered.
Nearing Endangerment Or Extinction
The toads are at risk of endangerment or extinction because of their toxins. In a New York Times report, it’s stated that the toxin, bufotenin, is in high demand because it can produce euphoria and hallucinations. It’s considered a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal.
Anyone can legally capture up to 10 of the amphibians with a proper license in Arizona. In California, however, it is illegal to capture the toads as well as smoke their toxins.
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