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I want to travel with you! Ill avenge amphibians too! lol

Thanks Rob and Hanna. You've answered a question that has bugged me ever since I 'saw' a wierd but holy toad in my room when taking a little Psylocibe once. What have mushrooms got to do with toads? Why toadstools? Socrates would have been had a lively interest. According to Robert Graves (I think in the introduction to The Greek Myths) the Centaurs' Ambrosia was Amanita based, and they had a 100 clawed toad as a deity (the Hechatonteroi?) . Now you've explained the mystery completely! Mr Frog eats bug who ate mushroom. Simple. But still, how did that glowing, floating three foot high benevolent omniscient toad spirit get in my room?
At the risk of boring: "The English aversion to frogs' legs, a great delicacy across the Channel, seems due to ancestral awe of the toad, the frog's cousin - a creature, by the way, closely associated with the mushroom taboo and treated with the same unreasoning hate" (p260 Food For Centaurs, Robert Graves, 1957)


Thanks so much for the dedicated research on chasing the toad. I'm still not tempted. There is an amazing scene in the legendary Mark Lewis documentary Cane Toads in which a man admits to running over toads and then smoking them. Its sick but very funny, like the rest of the film. If you haven't seen it is about to be released in 3D (just premiered at Sundance). When I return we must go. Read about it here: http://www.screendaily.com/cane-toads-2-in-3d/5000805.article


Thanks so much for the compliments. I hope to find Atelopus in Columbia. I'll post some pics for you.

Oh, and make sure find some Atelopus and

Awesome blog; I'll definitely be following. Nice to see someone with an interest in something other than Pandas, Lions and Elephants, and who better than a fellow South Londoner?

Good luck in your froggy quest.

And here's one person's way of extracting and smoking toad venom, and a couple more accounts. It does sound fun...

"Extracting the venom was somewhat problematic. _Venomous Animals and their Venoms_ gives a procedure where the toad is pressed firmly down with one hand and the paratoidal gland (behind the 'ear') is sqeezed firmly with the other. A piece of glass is suspended above the toad to catch the viscous venom as it squirts from the toad. I found this method awkward. The best way (after brief experimentation) I was able to discover was to hold the toad in one hand, squeeze the gland with the other, and have an assistant hold some glass in the firing line of the paratoidal gland. This should be repeated once after the toad is allowed to rest for 20 minutes or so. You must apply a considerable amount of pressure to release any poison; I was hesitant in this as I was afraid I would injure the toads (especially with the manager standing next to me). Because I didn't apply as much pressure as I should have, I only obtained 80-100 mg of venom from the three toads. According to _Venomous Animals and their Venoms_ I should have obtained something more like 400mg per toad.

In any case, after letting the poison dry, I scraped it off the glass, obtaining a fine crystaline substance. I took 1 gram of Harmala seeds for my experiment (I weigh 160 lbs) and a friend (who weighs 260) took 1.7 grams of the same substance. We also smoked one MJ cigarette. Instead of freebasing the 5-MeO-DMT (as would have been most efficient) we mixed it with some MJ and smoked it in a pipe. The taste was unusual, but not intensely unpleasant. Halfway through smoking the quantity, we stopped. I noticed an odd feeling and slight buzz from the MJ, the freind noticed nothing. We continued smoking, and after finishing both noticed some rather extreme effects.

Objects appeared extremely distorted, colors were intensified and facial quirks were magnified, giving people a clown-like appearance. Perception of distance was extremely disorted; objects within arms reach seemed miles away. Height perceptions were also distorted, one minute I seemed like a giant compared to those around me, the next minute I seemed a dwarf in comparison. Light sources provoked an unusual reaction; they seemed surrounded by moving, prismatic colors. Walking was problematic; the sidewalk reminded me of the famous films of the 'galloping gertie' bridge in washington state. I felt as if I was surfing rather than walking. Observations of the facial expressions of the passerbys seemed to indicate that my manner of walking was no different than that of any of the other pedestrians that night. My freind (who was, for the record, rather out of shape) claimed to experience racing heart, but I had no such difficulties.

After walking for approximately 15 minutes, the intensity of the experience subsided, and we felt able to go to the bar as we had intended. We were both rather strongly intoxicated for the next hour, drinking several beers in that time. Paranoiac feelings, and some mild visual/auditory hallucinations persisted for approximately 2 hours after taking the substance."

Account number 2...

"As I lit my lighter I heard the venom snap and crackle from the heat, and I gently sucked the smoke into my lungs. It was a fairly large hit that filled my lungs with smoke.

And then it began...My vision went blurry for a split second, and I felt pins and needles creeping quickly up the back of my neck and head. By the time this pins and needles effect got to my eyes, I was tripping VERY hard. Shadows began to move, and slither up my wall. Everything in my room took on a strange glow, and the fear grew inside me. After 20 seconds the effects were still coming on hard and fast, and I felt like I would almost freak out. But then a calm came over me as the drug reached its peak.

The visual effects were similar to a moderate dose of mushrooms or LSD, but the body high was extremely intense. I lay in my bed, hardly moving for about the first minute, time slowed quite dramatically. I was using a winamp visualization program, and it slowed to a crawl, so did my clock. But the music seemed to go on at its normal pace. The only thing I could think for the first 5 minutes was 'Dear God it worked!!.' Everything was so beautiful that it amazed me to no end. I ended up playing with my dog for a while, I really enjoyed touching anything I could get my hands on."

Yes, great to hear back from David and glad he got in touch direct with the AA. He didn't tell me how you smoke it either (I'm chasing him) but he told me to check out this site... The Vaults of Erowid... and it's all here...

instructions on how to extract the poison and how to smoke it...


And, all importantly, read the Experiences section at the bottom for what actually happens when you chase the toad... What follows is the personal account of an evidently hardcore hippie calling himself exuberantmantra...

"The feeling came on immediately and was overwhelming. I looked beyond my porch at the ground which looked like it was boiling (from the sprinkling). Then the entire world started spinning. I grew slightly neaseous (lots of different sensations all over), and was overwhelmed with an uncomfortable feeling. I could no longer keep my eyes open because the light and exterior stimuli were too intense. I reminded myself that this feeling was temporary and that pain and discomfort are transitory. I seemed to sky rocket exponentially, and soon I was too far beyond my own body to feel anything.

"It was at this time that I realized I was tripping HARD. The most intense trip I ever had. Until then i hadn't even realized what tripping was. I avoided panic by reminding myself that it wasnt going to last a long time, and that in this moment I exist, this moment is my life. Then it got about 10 times more intense.

"(probably 3 min into experience, though it felt MUCH longer)
My closed eyes were seeing bodies of ungulating emanating infintesimal fibres of existence (no other way to describe). I no longer had a body, I no longer lived on earth, I no longer existed in this dimension. I was completely aware of everything that was going on, I had no memory lapse or anything, and yet I was ungulating along with this fibrous liquid. I realized that all these rules we have for living, all these behaviors we exhibit are products of necessity, and that I had no rules, I just existed. My mind began turning itself inside out over the question, 'I exist'. I felt so distant and yet so unified.

"Now I realize that language plays a pivotal role in thought processes and memory. We can not grasp existence because we have no means to describe it, to analyze it, to dissect it. But in a state of mind such as this, analysis is futile, thought occurs, and people, things, exist.

"It was this experience that gave me a completely radical new perspective. I had experienced psilocybe, LSD, mescaline, high levels of isomerized purified THC (unfortunately not acetate), etc. and none had left me with quite this intensity of feeling. Probably because the duration is too long with these substances, and what is gained is also lost in the 'coming down'.

"After what felt close to an hour of just merging with this existing intertwining all encompassing liquid (not to mention the colors, oh god the colors!) I began to step back into 'reality' (which has since then meant something completely different). I watched the mountains rolling in waves in the distant, I watch the lightning get closer and further, and I was at peace with wherever, whenever, whatever I was.

"Tears come to my eyes recounting this amazing experience."

So there you have it

Many species of Dendrobatids have been successfully propagated in captivity.The hobbyists who specialize in their propagation do so with an amazing attention to detail and devotion. Interestingly, the Dendrobatids that are captive propagated lack the poison compounds of their wild brethren due to the fact that the insects they are fed are not the wild insects which are naturally gut loaded with the extracts from the native plants they consume.

Hanna, thanks so much for the comment. I agree, the way the poison dart frogs acquire their poison is mind blowing in itself. A miracle of evolution. I am also a fan of their incredible reproductive strategy and am thinking they deserve a posting of their own.

Lucy: the synthesis chain of the peptides that these frogs secrete, as with the Dendrobatids is an interesting one. From consuming the insects that feed on various botanicals found in their habitat is the way the frogs acquire the compounds to formulate their own poisonous elixirs. Would make Socrates proud...

Wow David, thanks for leaving the message (and thanks Rob - I'm sure this is your fine work). So please tell - how the hell do you smoke a toad? Stick tobacco up its bottom and suck? What does smoking a toad do for you? Was it worth getting busted for? We need answers....

hey i never licked the toad i smoked it

What does a toad trip feel like? Mushrooms?

I found this guy on facebook (after typing in David Theiss Kansas City)...


... and I've asked him if he could tell us... will let you know if he gets back to me...

good blogging

That last frog picture is great, the eyes are fantastic. I've got to go and take some frog pictures now!!

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