The Toad’s Tale
Animals Among Us

Freide Headshot_SketchElephants. Monkeys. Squirrels. Who amongst us doesn’t have a favorite animal or beast?  My name is Doug Freide, and this is my new column, Animals Among Us. As a novice zoologist and cryptozoologist, it’s my goal to bring the magnificent fauna of the world to Georgetown one creature at a time. I know that I’m getting something out of this column and I really hope that you are too, so sit back and soak up the glory of life!

Today I’d like to focus on a vexing little freak, the Cane Toad (Rhinella marina). Though native to Central South America, the Cane Toad is infamous for having been introduced to Australia in 1935 and screwing its way to the top faster than a hare’s hair can grow! Imported under the assumption that the Cane Toad could mitigate the impact of the sugar cane-hungry Cane Beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum), the Cane Toad soon proved more interested in each other’s private parts than in eating bugs. The 102 toads that the government initially released quickly multiplied into 200 million without having an impact on the Cane Beetle, thus proving to be a severe failure. Thanks a lot, Cane Toad, you big regret!

One interesting thing about the Cane Toads besides its power to be a mistake is its power to make venom, the only thing it does well. The Swiss Army Knife of toxins, the Cane Toad’s venom has been used as arrow poison, a hair-restorer, and as an aphrodisiac for those who have tried literally everything else.

The most interesting use of the Cane Toad’s venom is as an entheogen, which my brother’s drug dealer describes as a “trippy plant that makes you go, like” and then he did a motion that made it look like his head was exploding. When threatened, the Cane Toad releases a venom containing bufotoxin, a tryptamine with hallucinogenic properties. In order to access this tryptomine, Cane Toad enthusiasts issue a bomb threat to the toad, thus activating the toxins, and continue to lick the toad’s stomach to ingest the bufotoxin. As your dedicated columnist, I decided to test the Cane Toad’s bufotoxin in order to share the true toad experience with you. I just licked the toad and will describe my toad trip below as it happens.

It’s over and I didn’t write anything but I experienced my own death. I can’t tell what or the … it’s coming on again second wave of death how back third wave I can’t stop dying I have stopped dying. How terrible, how absolutely terrible. Have you ever seen a birdfeeder turn into a warplane that you have to pilot in order to bomb your own hometown? I think I’m an atheist now. Actually, maybe I’m devoutly religious, I don’t know.  I wish that this horrible animal never came to be.

I hate these animals. I hate them. I don’t blame Australians for going out of their way to hit Cane Toads with their cars; if I was cruising in my Honda and I saw one of these poisonous curses hopping along the road, I would speed up. The Cane Toad looks like a wax statue of Zsa Zsa Gabor that got locked in a greenhouse.  I can see myself using these for skeet shooting.

Thanks for reading Animals Among Us! I hope that you learned a lot about the animal kingdom, and I hope you learned a little about yourself too. Be sure to check back in whenever I glue my mind back together and get another one of these puppies (Canis lupus familiaris) published. Until next time, remember: animals!


“Doug Freide” is a rising senior in the College. Animals Among Us appears every other Sunday.

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One Comment

  1. This is amazing. Props to The Hoya for doing something different.

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