back to article LICKED: Behold my TOAD-PROOF ERECTION, boasts Aussie boffin

An Australian scientist says that he has succeeded in mastering one of mankind's deadliest enemies: invading toads which sweat toxic hallucinogenic drugs. "This is the first study to demonstrate long-term control of cane toads," says Professor Mike Letnic of New South Wales uni. 'This is a cane toad with a tracking device …

  1. John Tserkezis

    Sorta funny they brought them in to address the Sugar Cane Beetle problem, well, they licked that allright, and continued to eat everything else and multiply.

    This is not the only thing the sugar industry has done to demonstrate their disregard for anything, they've lobbied polititians to have extensive amounts of water to them, to the determent of others, all for a product we don't need to survive.

    Let's hope the toads are eradicated, the cane beetles come back, and their "vital" crops fall over. (*)

    (*) I'm diabetic, so don't care if sugar is wiped out. Fruits make their own sugar, and no, Fruit Loops don't count as fruit so good riddance.

    </endrant> Is there a maximum rant quota?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Sarah Balfour


      You need to be avoiding more than just the obvious sugars, all carbs turn to sugar once you've eaten 'em.

      Eat low-carb/high-fat, and you'll not require as much insulin. I honestly believe that the USDA and the NHS recommend a low-fat/high-carb diet because they're in the pay of Big Pharma, I can think of no other logical explanation for recommending a diet which is almost the polar opposite of our evolutionary and genetic dietary blueprint (the polar opposite of what's healthy in other words).

      Oh and a word if you've been ordered to cut your sodium intake because you've got hypertension, angina or other heart problems. Ignore the quack, cardiac problems are caused by too LITTLE Na, not too much. If you cut out sodium, your potassium level will increase, and too much potassium causes heart, circulatory and neurological disorders. In fact the WHO RDA for sodium is around half what our body requires (the current recommendation for Na is 2.4g for K is 3.6g so, in other words we need 33% more Na than K, rather than the current 50% more K than Na recommendation).

      Finally, saturated fat and cholesterol don't cause heart disease, either.

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    That fence will exclude everything not just the toad

    The fence they are using will exclude everything, not just the toad. Hint - toads are not frogs, they really suck at jumping. So a 10-15 cm reverse inclination (outward facing) fence should suffice. There is no need to build a 2 foot high monstrousity.

    Also, if done right, it can serve as a one-way trap. A toad can climb from inside out, but never come back.

    It will at the same time allow most indignieous species to get to the water and offset the balance in their favour. On the negative side this means that you need to level the ground in front of the fence to ensure it is effective so a smaller fence is likely to be more effective.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: That fence will exclude everything not just the toad

      Yes, but the reservoirs aren't part of the natural ecosystem, so blocking them off completely would rebalance things quite nicely.

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: That fence will exclude everything not just the toad

        True, but I doubt the farmers would agree to blocking off their dams from their livestock completely (as it would inevitably result in deadstock).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cane Toads: An Unnatural History - Compulsory viewing

    1. Haku
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History - Compulsory viewing

      The full 46 minute documentary:

      And yes it is worth a watch.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    The fence they built for rabbits worked so well, I can see why they'd repeat the strategy.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Bunny bunny , bunny

      First thing I thought of.

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      Very few rabbits escape from Australia.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        They hitch a ride on the camels.

        1. Martin Budden

          Maybe we could use the camels to ship out the toads too?

          (Oh dear, now I'm thinking of "camel-toad"... say it out loud)

    3. Fluffy Bunny

      The rabbit-proof fence ran right through Australia, from north to south. It worked so long as the governments paid for stockmen to patrol it, keeping it in good order, but more importantly stopping rabbits from burrowing underneath it. Eventually, rabbits did get through and governments were less willing to deal with a problem that had simply become endemic (the rabbit-trap salesmen would typically visit a farm twice - once to drop off a breeding pair of bunnies, a few weeks later to point out the problem the farmer may not have noticed and offer a few traps at a really good price).

      However the toad-proof fence is different because it is used on a much more localised scale - each farmer would fence off his own dam. Secondly, and a key difference, it would still work in an area that has been infested because it denies the toads the ability to breed.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge

    Good news Everyone!

    WE no longer need to watch hypnotoad! Cane toads for everyone! MMmmm tasty!

  6. TitterYeNot


    "The crafty toads use these as refuges from the scorchio conditions."

    Y mañana - Oh! Scorchio...

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine's the one with nimbo cumulos hovering overhead...

  7. WonkoTheSane

    Nursery Rhymes could have saved all this trouble...

    "There was an old woman who swallowed a fly" etc.

  8. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Yes yes, get rid of those toads! But can we first get a first-hand testimonial of one of those Aussie toad lickers, whether it's worth the licking? There must be some among El Reg commentards...

    An enquiring mind needs to know.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Problem is that they are mostly Queenslanders so it is a bit hard to tell.

      1. JassMan Silver badge


        Ahh! so thats why they're called banana benders. They have had their minds warped by toad licking.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An enquiring mind needs to know.

      Make that two enquiring minds :)

      I guessed that there must be some DMT analogue in the poison and a quick check on the wikipedia page reveals that it does actually have 5MeO-DMT. I had memory filed away that says that DMT isn't orally active unless you combine it with a Mono Amine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI). Apparently people in South America used to combine Ayahuasca (which contains DMT) with a MAOI (harmaline). I checked and 5MeO-DMT works the same way.

      The other possible active ingredient is Bufotenin (bufo from the toad's family name), but it appears that there isn't really very much of it in the poison. It's apparently similar in structure to DMT, so chances are that it's also not orally active without a MAOI.

      MAOIs themselves can have side-effects and contraindications, so I wouldn't try them without seeking medical advice.

      One other interesting thing I turned up is that DMT-like drugs are metabolised by the cytochrome P450-2D6 enzyme and some people (around 6-10% of Caucasians) aren't (well-) equipped with this enzyme. Not being able to break it down could result in a much longer trip than you'd want (though there may be other metabolic routes).

      So in summary of the purely chemical aspects, licking probably won't work without a MAOI, but if you can extract enough of it it and smoke it you should get an LSD-like hallucinatory high (LSD binds to the same receptors).

      I'm sure all of this is probably covered in TIHKAL, but I could never justify buying my own copy :)

      (Actually, I found this link)

      1. Alphabet Soup 1

        I've never licked one but I have tasted the toxin. On a warm Queensland summer evening I go out and skewer toads with a garden fork (I can get 20 a night) and once one squirted toxin onto my face and lips. Obviously I spat it out in hurry but I can confirm that it tastes bitter and that it made me feel ill. No hallucinogenic effects, just nausea. Cane toads are horrible things, they eat any animals smaller than themselves and kill most things that try to eat them.

        The fence only works in areas where water is limiting - around Brisbane there is currently loads of water around. I guess it'll work better than golf clubs, toads are so tough that I suspect one of the ways they've spread so quickly around Australia is that they're being driven with a 1-wood 150 yards at a time.

      2. Fluffy Bunny

        1) Since when did druggies care about contraindications and side-effects?

        2) It's a little known fact that bananas grow straight in the wild. Since southerners only want to buy bananas with a stylish bend, they have to be bent as they cross the border. And this is why Queenslanders are known as banana benders.

  9. Simple Si
    Paris Hilton

    Toad Likcing

    Note to self, when visiting Oz, say "No" if someone asks me to "Lick their toad" as it is unlikely to be a euphemism...

  10. Colin 4

    Toad Licking - it's for the dogs

    Dogs love 'em. They become addicted and go out at night searching for a fix ....

    1. wdmot

      Re: Toad Licking - it's for the dogs

      Yep. When my wife lived in Arizona she had a dog that they re-named "Toadlicker" because it kept licking those poisonous toads. The poison apparently stings, as the dog yelps for a bit when it first licks the toad; it then has convulsions, foams at the mouth, pees on itself, and then just lies there for a while. And then it licks toads again.

  11. skeptical i

    So that princess-kissing-a-frog thing

    was really a princess kissing a cane toad and hallucinating the transmogrification into a charming prince? Glad that's sorted.

  12. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Anyone know....

    ...what that little backpack is attached to the toad in the photo? It's quite prominent in the picture, almost as if that was the whole point of taking that specific photo, but not referenced at all in the story.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Anyone know....

      "...what that little backpack is attached to the toad in the photo? It's quite prominent in the picture, almost as if that was the whole point of taking that specific photo, but not referenced at all in the story."

      Well, it's referenced in the fine caption under the photo (which is where captions usually sit):

      'This is a cane toad with a tracking device attached at a dam in Australia'. Some days being a caption writer is OK.

      To which I'd add... "and most days, being a caption writer is thankless because NO ONE APPARENTLY BOTHERS TO READ THEM." :)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Anyone know....

        To which I'd add... "and most days, being a caption writer is thankless because NO ONE APPARENTLY BOTHERS TO READ THEM." :)

        I was going to say "Guilty as charged M'Lud." but on looking back at the story, I'm pretty sure that second copy of the photo and it's caption were not there at the time I posted. The so-called "hero" image does not have a caption

        I have noticed on on a number of occasions that the "hero" image has been removed after commentards posted about strange stock images being used with no relation to the story. Maybe this is a similar "correction" but they have to duplicate the image because the style/css layout doesn't allow for a "hero" caption. Likewise, a number of comments were posted during The Great Revamp Debate of 2014/15 about the huge "hero" image being followed by a short intro paragraph then the same image again before the story proper begins. It seems to me that some at El Reg are still not quite comfortable with the new style guide yet,

  13. Stevie Silver badge


    I heard that toxic toads were being annihilated, but a quick glance over my garden fence showed that my neighbor was still as alive and lively as ever. Either the program isn't working or it is too slow to matter.

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