Don’t Lick The Toads: National Park Service Issues Warning 

People in California seem to be tired of the same old hikes and picnics in their local national park, as the Sonoran Desert National Park is now home to a new, unusual activity: licking psychedelic toads! 

The National Park Service has had to issue a warning to visitors to avoid licking the large Sonoran Desert toad in an attempt to achieve a hallucinogenic state, as the toad’s secretion contains a toxin/

It’s also previously been reported that demand for the toad’s secretion could lead its population to collapse.

While licking toads for their psychedelic effects is actually more of a myth – and is in fact dangerous as the toads contain a toxin called Bufotoxin, which can be fatal – smoking the toads’s secretion is popular in psychedelic circles.

Psychedelic toads 

The Sonoran Desert toad is also known as the Colorado River toad.  

These large toads, which can grow up to seven inches long and make a “weak, low-pitched toot” when they call, have a toxic substance called bufotenin, also known as “5-MeO-DMT.” 

This substance is a natural psychedelic that can be inhaled, smoked, or snorted and can cause a “short but intense psychedelic experience” that lasts around 30 minutes. The hallucinogenic effects of bufotenin are reportedly stronger than those caused by ayahuasca. 

While Colorado Ricer toads may not look like much, they pack a psychedelic punch like no other.  

Refrain from licking”

The number of people seeking out toads in national parks still isn’t clear, but the use of the psychedelic toads has gained attention in popular culture and among celebrities. 

“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 Park Service wrote on Facebook recently.

“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.”


James Rucker, a psychiatrist at King’s College London, has conducted research on the chemical bufotenin and other natural drugs and believes they have the potential to be “transformative” for those with depression and alcoholism, provoking feelings of euphoria and ecstasy. 

Celebrities such as Mike Tyson and Hunter Biden have said their experience with 5-MeO-DMT was life-changing.

However, Rucker also warns that these substances can also cause paranoia, severe anxiety, and may bring up difficult emotions that may require professional support to manage. 

Rucker also emphasised the importance of respecting the autonomy and dignity of the toads and leaving them alone. 

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