Opinion Satire: Our right to lick Colorado toads is in jeopardy


Katharine Manson

A beautiful toad, ripe with deadly hallucinogens and just waiting to be licked. But that could soon be impossible.

The National Park Service (NPS) posted a reminder to Facebook. “…whether it be a banana slug, unfamiliar mushroom, or large toad with glowing eyes in the dead of night, please refrain from licking. Thank you. Toot!”

Toot? While the NPS says it references the sound unique to the toads, perhaps it is their not so subtle way of tooting their own horn — a pat on the back for restricting our freedom to licking these amphibians.

“It is cause for national outrage,” psychedelic user and self-proclaimed toad licker Cecil Stultus commented from his hospital bed, painted camouflaged to attract potential toads. “Lickers do not spend so much time avoiding park rangers and road signs to be ostracized for our acts of bravery. It’s simply unjust.”

Cecil is currently bedridden after licking three toads at once, but he has no regrets. “If I have to capture every frog and keep them in my basement, then that’s what’ll be,” Stultus said. “But I’ll be damned if [NPS] tries to delegitimize psychedelics.”

Stultus has been a toad licker since his youth, and has taken over a dozen trips to various medical centers, racking up thousands of dollars. But his efforts to experience ecstasy could all be in vain with these new regulations.

It’s common knowledge that psychedelics have always been a point of contention in the media, but why would people fear such an easy, fast and instantaneous method? The Sun reported that the sought-after secretion of 5-MeO-DMT, a schedule 1 drug that creates mesmerizing hallucinations, is the reason. This hallucinogen produces the toad’s eye gland; it merely becomes a matter of obtaining the toxin, which is why toad-licking rose in popularity.

These mesmerizing Colorado toads have been the center of the internet spotlight recently, but it’s not the first time citizens have fought to toad-lick without government interference. According to research by the Los Angeles Times, in 1993, the South Carolina Legislature proposed a bill making it illegal “to lick, kiss or bite a cane toad or to engage in the act of toad-smoking.” The penalty was up to thirty days of community service at Columbia Zoo’s reptile house. Thirty days for merely wanting to try hallucinogens by forcibly putting your tongue on a living creature is far more than just being overdramatic. It’s straight-up oppressive.

“When we lick these toads, it comes from our passion for American values,” fellow licker Arnold T. Lobel told reporters. “If we didn’t lick them, who would? We are exercising the rights and freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution that all citizens deserve to have and use freely.” The answer remains a mystery, but without these daring countrymen, would there even be a need for this sudden push for government oversight? If it were not for them, there would be empty emergency rooms all across the nation. The medical world needs the toad lickers just as much as they need medical assistance.

And why would anyone want to limit using this highly dangerous chemical when we could experience the risk of licking a threatened species? There is an unparalleled thrill in disregarding all clear warnings for personal gain, and that should be acknowledged as an exception to the science and logic of the NPS, and other critics like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It’s simply human instinct to explore, and that fact should remain unrestricted by any individual, agency or organization. We’ve all been subjected to various “no licking” rules as children, why should that rule apply to us years later? It is nothing short of a lackluster attempt to restrict our right to live an adventure-filled life.

Now, am I a licensed pharmacist or medical practitioner? No. But I am a defender of democracy. If our nation has not voted to outlaw simple acts of licking a toad, then we shouldn’t stand for such clear contempt for our freedoms. The way I see it, partaking in these creatures’ psychedelic vapors is simply our way of showing respect.

“Once I learned about toad licking, I thought about all the times I saw a toad in the woods and thought to myself: why hasn’t anyone tried it?” Lobel said, displaying a poisonous dart frog he captured on a vacation trip. “At first I thought there was a good reason, but when I found out it was because of the DEA, I was shocked. Our rights are being infringed upon, and it’s no laughing matter.”

As an enthusiast for the fair use of our national resources, I firmly believe it is within our constitutional rights to be allowed to ignore advice from medical professionals as Americans and to lick these Colorado toads whenever possible. Everybody should understand that these medical professionals only care for one’s health and safety, with no regard for one’s ability of living life to the fullest and taking advantage of every opportunity. We should all stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of toad-licking.