Visitors to Southwest National Parks continue to kiss frogs, but they don’t hope they’ll turn into a prince.
The rare Sonoran desert toad, also known as the Colorado river toad, naturally secretes a strong hallucinogenic poison called Bufotenin, which is four to six times more potent than DMT.
Licking the frogs can produce a short but intense psychedelic trip that lasts about 30 minutes.
But the secretion of frogs can also be quite dangerous, prompting the National Park Service to put a warning on them Facebook page to stay away from the frogs.
“These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin,” the agency wrote. “You can get sick if you touch the frog or get the poison in your mouth. As we say with most things you come across in a national park, be it a banana snail, an unknown mushroom or a large toad with glowing eyes in the middle of the night, please refrain from licking.”
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!!! ??
The Sonoran desert toad (Bufo alvarius) is one of the largest toads found in North America, measuring nearly 6 inches (18 cm). Will it hypnotize you with its large oscillating multicolored eyes? That’s just stupid… MUST SHARE TOAD FACTS!!! pic.twitter.com/78GIcco7rm
— National Park Service (@NatlParkService) Nov 1, 2022
Toad poison is all the rage
The rare toad venom has become all the rage among celebrities like Mike Tyson, Chelsea Handler and Hunter Biden.
“I died on my first trip,” Tyson told The New York Post. “In my travels I have seen that death is beautiful. Life and death should both be beautiful, but death has a bad reputation. The toad has taught me that I will not be here forever. There is an expiration date.”
The toad venom has been used in rituals for thousands of years for its healing properties, but it only recently became mainstream in the last decade.
Now vacationers go on retreat to taste the rare toad poison.
“People pay anywhere from $250 for a ceremony in the woods of East Texas to $8,500 for a more gilded beachfront setting in Tulum, Mexico, to consume the toxin,” according to The New York Times.
Or they go to a national park in the US Southwest and try to lick a frog for free.