What would happen to someone who licked a common English toad?
October 17, 2011 2:12 PM   Subscribe

What effect would licking a common English toad have on humans?

So there are the wives' tales about 'toad licking' in the 1960s (and I hear there's a Family Guy episode about this, too), but that seems to pertain to American toads.

What would happen to a person who licked a common English toad? I know they do secrete certain substances from their glands, but would these have any adverse effects -- or any effects at all -- on a human?
posted by Miss T.Horn to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You could get salmonella.
posted by procrastination at 2:35 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

We used to have a dog that was a toad licker. Well, a toad eater, actually. They'd make him foam at the mouth, but he never seemed to really get sick.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:56 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

The common English toad belongs to the Bufo genus and therefore their venom would contain bufotenin, which is the tryptamine that causes the psychedelic effects referenced in popular culture.

Licking one probably wouldn't do anything, but "smoking or orally ingesting Bufo toad venom or dried Bufo skins" might get you high. And might poison you.
posted by Specklet at 3:20 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are no warnings or worries about letting kids handle toads in England*, and they're the ones most likely to transmit things from hand to mouth. Compare with something like foxgloves, where as children we were told explicitly to never even touch. There would be some kind of folk knowledge if it was a problem, but there isn't. I would guess that bacteria or viruses are the worst consequence, but then that's true for a lot of things.

*The common toad here is the same as throughout Europe, Bufo bufo.
posted by Jehan at 3:47 PM on October 17, 2011

Yeah my dog got super sick, foaming at the mouth, stumbling all around like she was drunk, we took her to the vet, and they said "She licked a hallucinogenic toad." I wish I could say we didn't chuckle at her endearing ridiculousness.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 5:32 PM on October 17, 2011

The Google combo you want is bufo toad milking.

My anthropology of hallucinogens professor, a pretty laid back guy in his 'don't try this at home' admonishments, was like, "really, seriously, please don't do this. It's really dangerous and not fun enough for the risk. Do not squeeze or lick toads."

Erowid probably has some good info, but I'm on the phone so I'm not going to sift through that site for you.
posted by bilabial at 4:39 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all the info. And, just to be clear: I don't plan on licking any toads. Just needed this information for some writing research. But I'll be sure to remember these warnings if I ever come across a toad and am gripped with the urge to lick it.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 8:09 AM on October 18, 2011

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