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The National Park Service is asking visitors to stop licking the toads

The National Park Service is asking visitors to stop licking the toads

As tempting as it may be, don’t lick toads.

The US National Park Service asked last week to help protect the Sonoran desert frog, which secretes a toxin unlike any other found on the planet.

The effects of toxins depend on your perspective. Some call it a dangerous poison that can make people sick it can even be deadly. Others call it the “God Molecule,” a hallucinogen so powerful it’s often compared to a religious experience.

But maybe keep your tongue away from the toads, the Park Service said in a cheesy, pun-filled Facebook post.

“As we say with most things you come across in a national park, whether it’s a banana slug, an unknown mushroom or a large toad with glowing eyes in the dead of night, please refrain from licking it,” it reads eerie night photo of a beady-eyed toad. “Thank you.”

Demand for toad secretion it has flourished in recent years, with a growing retreat industry catering to those seeking a psychedelic experience. In some cases, the experience is treated like a ceremony, with participants paying hundreds or thousands of dollars. It usually lasts 15 to 30 very intense minutes.

Licking a toad is not the way most people do it. The substance in the toxins that the toad excretes when threatened, 5-MeO-DMT, can be dried into crystals and smoked in a pipe. It is illegal in the United States, where it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, but is legal in Mexico.

It was not clear how often people tried to lick the toads; The National Park Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But smoking toxin—commonly referred to as Five or Bufo—is a practice that goes back decades.

Growing interest in the experience has brought new dangers to the animal, which is also known as the Colorado River frog and is found primarily in the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. They are commonly targeted by predators such as raccoons and run over on roads, but now they are also the target of poaching, overharvesting and illegal trade.

Humans collect the substance by stroking under the frog’s chin, triggering a defensive response. It then releases a substance that can be scraped, dried and smoked.



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