Have you ever wondered if other animals besides humans like to get high? Or drunk? Seriously, think about it. Why would humans be the only creatures craving the recreational effects of mind-altering drugs? In my next few posts, we'll take a look.
Did you know many dogs have become addicted to the toxic, hallucinogenic substance secreted by marine toads? Marine toads, which are the largest of all toads and can grow to almost 10 inches (25 cm) from snout to butt, originated in South America but have been introduced in many tropical areas around the world, mainly to control pest insects.
Marine toads, as well as some other types of toads, protect themselves by secreting a toxic substance from poison glands in their skin. If consumed, this toxin can be deadly, even to humans and other large animals such as dogs. In nonlethal doses, a substance in the toxin called bufotenine can cause hallucinogenic effects similar to those caused by LSD and mescaline.
Some humans have actually become addicted to this substance after repeatedly consuming it... a process commonly called "toad licking."
Uh... no thanks.
Actually, a guy named Albert Most founded the Church of the Toad of Light, the main purpose of which is to promote recreational toad licking.
Okay, so where do dogs come into the picture? Dogs are curious. They like to sniff, lick, and chew on things, especially other animals. Many dogs have been poisoned by eating marine toads, and those that don't die from the poison experience hallucinations. As a result, many of those dogs learn to hunt for marine toads and lick them just to experience the "high" over and over again. They become addicted. And it doesn't help that the toads' secretions taste sweet.
This happens everywhere marine toads live, but it has become a really common problem in Queensland, Australia. Veterinarians in the area are increasingly reporting dogs that are repeat offenders... they call them "serial lickers."
Unfortunately, these dog addicts are playing a dangerous game—a deadly overdose can happen at any time.
Marine toad - Stan C. Smith
Everyone needs a creative outlet. That's why I write.