The National Park Service (NPS) recently issued a warning against licking the potentially toxic Sonoran Desert toad.
The toad, which is also called the Colorado River toad, emits a “weak, low-pitched sound” and is one of the largest toads in North America, measuring at almost seven inches, the park service said, according to local Fox affiliate Fox 35 Orlando.
The toad secretes a potent toxin that can sicken anyone who handles it or happens to get the toxin in their mouth, which pushed the NPS to issue a warning regarding the amphibian.
“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,” the National Park Service said.
The toad often lingers near springs, reservoirs and streams in Mexico as well as parts of the American Southwest. Some people reportedly lick the animal to imbibe its toxins, which contain a psychedelic chemical called 5-MeO-DMT that can induce an out-of-body experience.
The psychedelic liquid is often extracted from the toad’s glands and then dried into a paste that can be smoked.
“The experience is going to start within 10 to 30 seconds, and then you’re going to be physically incapacitated for 20 to 30 minutes,” said Alan Davis, a Johns Hopkins psychedelics researcher.
The U.S. government has classified 5-MeO-DMT as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has no accepted medical use.
Smoking toad venom has gained popularity, with figures such as Mike Tyson and Hunter Biden admitting to using it to treat their drug addiction.
The toad species is considered threatened in New Mexico because of “collectors that want to use the animal for drug use,” among other factors, according to the state’s Department of Game & Fish. California classifies the toad as endangered and has outlawed its venom, according to the Oakland Zoo.