Police Hunt Hallucinogenic Toad Thief
Friday, December 06, 2002 10:10 a.m. ET
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch police are
investigating whether drug addicts raided a pet shop
and stole three exotic toads whose warty skin can
induce hallucinations when licked.
The animals were snatched from a pet shop near a drug addicts' center
in the city of Leeuwarden in the northeast of the Netherlands on
"There has been quite a bit of trouble with junkies and there is a drugs
crisis center near the shop, so it is quite possible, naturally we are
looking in that direction too," police spokesman Harry Oenema told
"They are an exotic kind of toad that secrete a substance. If you lick
them you may get a hallucination, comparable with a trip on LSD," he
The fist-sized brown cane toads, from the bufo marinus species, are
originally from South America and secrete a toxin from glands on their
necks and backs as a defense against predators. They have been
introduced in Australia to combat a plague of greyback beetles.
Licking the toads can cause side effects like swelling of the tongue and
temporary muscle paralysis, according to the pet shop owner.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited.