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Facts and Ethical Considerations About Sonoran Desert Toads

Started by Aspidoscelis, July 13, 2018, 07:58:18 PM

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Facts and Ethical Considerations About Sonoran Desert Toads
(Incilius alvarius aka Bufo alvarius aka Colorado River Toad)

The Sonoran Desert Toad is a large toad native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Sonora. It is well known to produce the potent hallucinogen 5meoDMT within its skin glands.

It is protected by various laws, and the 5meoDMT it produces is also an illegal substance punishable by law.

There are a small number of deaths associated with smoking toad poison.

The increasing demand for the Sonoran Desert Toad and it's 5meoDMT makes it susceptible to being taken from the wild, over harvested, or dislocated from its home range.

In order to mitigate this demand on the Sonoran Desert Toad, there are some facts and suggested guidelines to follow.

Leave them where they are found
Sonoran Desert Toads and the vast majority of other animals live in home ranges important to their survival. If they are removed from it they will likely die. As a result they also are not intended to live in captivity.

Licking Toads Myth
Licking toads is potentially dangerous as it can disrupt the heart and breathing.
The skin secretion of Sonoran Desert Toads is often called "venom". This is incorrect. It is a poison used for self-defense.

Collecting Sonoran Desert Toad Skin Poison
Should be done on site so as not to remove or dislocate individuals from their home ranges.
Collect poison from one gland. This leaves the toad with some of its defenses.

Individuals killed by vehicles on roads may have salvageable glands and are preferred over disturbing live individuals.
Use disposable gloves between handling different individuals to prevent transmission of disease. Disinfect boots and any other items in contact with water between sites to prevent transmission of disease.

Traditional Use
Smoking Sonoran Desert Toad poison appeared within the 20th Century. However, associating it with indigenous imagery has led to the speculation that smoking toad poison has been occurring for millenia. This is so far inconclusive and beside the fact that it is morally unsound to misappropriate indigenous cultures and wild animals for financial and/or personal gain.


Thank you for sharing this great information! So important to have and I am sure will bring up much more discussion.