Jon de Vos: But … is it sanitary?
November 11, 2010
In the 1930s, Australian farmers were plagued by cane beetles. Their best minds searched the world over, looking for a natural way to eradicate the pests.
On the island of Hawaii, they found an ugly fat creature named the cane toad. You can see the scientists’ minds working now, “Hmm, cane beetle, cane toad, conclusion: big government grant!”
So they caught a hundred Hawaiian cane toads, no difficult trick, it’s hard not to step on them. Then they dumped those toads on the island of Australia to see if they would eat the cane beetle. Tremendous success, sort of. No one cares about the cane beetle in Australia today because it is so overshadowed by the cane toad problem.
The cane toad has been munching heartily on the Australian biodiversity ever since it was plopped onto the shore. It grows to about 16 inches in diameter with a voracious appetite for birds, lizards, insects, snakes, mice and pretty much anything that doesn’t run away from it.
Scientific name, Bufo Marinus, it has no known predators due to a bitter poison secreted upon its skin. It is a poison so strong it will kill a full-grown alligator that swallows one. Today the cane toad, has spread throughout much of the world, including the southern states of America. Still, we should remember that one man’s poison is another man’s whooping good time.
Bufotenin is only one in a brew of toxic chemicals secreted from the poison glands of the cane toad. Australian law classifies the drug in the same category as heroin and cocaine. Ingestion reportedly causes hallucinations and uncontrollable grinning. Enterprising Aussies have started a cottage industry distilling the toads into illegal sports drinks.
A few years ago somebody noticed that if a dog ate a toad, it was a sure goner. But if a dog merely licked the toad, it would lay around the shanty all day, pickin’ on the banjo and begging for snacks. Go figure, it seems that toad-licking is catching on as a party favor now that meth and ecstasy have weeded out the weaklings. Teachers and police are growing concerned that the youth of America are secretly slurping toad sweat. And liking it.
South Carolina legislators are determined to enact legislation that will outlaw public toad licking. They’re scrambling to see if private toad licking could somehow be included. This type of critical protection is what good governance is all about. Witches used to grind up toads in their potions, then go flying across the moon, hexing people, tossing kids into ovens and raising hell in general.
Remember the princess kissing a toad and watching him turn into a prince? That story makes more sense now, doesn’t it? Well, you can’t act that way in South Carolina and they’re taking steps to be sure their kids don’t degenerate into misfit toad lickers.
I don’t know if this legislation is designed to protect the toad or those who would be offended at the sight of someone swapping spit with Kermit. It hasn’t been outlawed in Colorado. Don’t bogart that toad, my friend, pass it over to me. Gosh, what if a toad-licker got too high and sat on his stash?
Explain that one to your dry cleaner!
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