In what could be termed a humorous, late-night, “ribbiting” post, the National Park Service issued a warning about the Sonoran desert toad that should go without saying: don’t lick this toad.
Which begs the question: Would anyone consider licking any toad?
One night last week, the NPS posted a photo of the Sonoran desert toad captured by a motion sensor camera at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. The NPS took the occasion to describe the toad, which is also known as the Colorado River toad—one of the largest toads found in North America, measuring nearly 7 inches.
“What sound does it make?” the post reads. “Its call has been described as a ‘weak, low-pitched toot, lasting less than a second.’
“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. 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.”
Like the NPS, readers had fun with their responses, with some giving examples of their experiences with the toad, some issuing their own warning, and others praising the humor of the park’s writer, adding their own “toot” in some cases. (Click on NPS to read the entire post.)
A few examples:
“You might as well call a hearse because I’m about to pet that thing.”
“Don’t lick the toads? There goes my weekend plans.”
“The fact that people need to be reminded not to lick things found in national parks is disturbing.”
“So licking one would make me…croak? I’ll hop right [to] that!”
“But I thought that kissing toads turned them into princes!! Oh, wait. That is frogs. Never mind!”
“NPS really bringing the high-quality content required for this age. Hats off to you. Toot.”
“I followed because I love national parks, but I stay for you. You, the writer of the most hilarious national park posts I’ve ever seen. Keep them coming. I actually learn something every time.”
“Thank you for making nature so relatable and FUN!”
“PSA: Dogs love them. They are absolutely poisonous to them. Go out with your dog at night to keep them from munching on something deadly.”
“When I first moved to Arizona, during our first monsoon season was the first time I ever heard one. I legit thought there was a dying duck somewhere. It was 10pm and my son and I ran around the neighborhood with flashlights looking for an injured duck.”
“I am ribbit-ted by this photo and this toad-ally fun and educational post.”
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.