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Cops Are Investigating a Hallucinogenic Desert Toad Heist

The local conservation area believes the thieves may have wanted to lick the stolen Sonoran Desert toads for their natural psychedelic properties.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Photo (L) via Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area and (R) via VICELAND.

After sundown on Friday night, a band of thieves allegedly snuck into a conservation area in the Arizona desert with flashlights and grocery bags, and started hunting. According to the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, they'd come there to steal Sonoran Desert toads—innocent-looking little hoppers that produce one of the most potent natural psychedelics on Earth.

According to local ABC affiliate KNXV, police have since launched an investigation into the amphibian bandits, who allegedly came away from their romp with a handful of toads. Unfortunately for them, they wound up walking right into the path of a security camera, which caught them rooting around in the wilderness with a grocery bag believed to be full of the little guys.


The toads produce a venom that contains 5 MEO DMT, an extremely potent psychedelic shamans have been harvesting for decades. Ingesting the toad's venom is pretty deadly for dogs and raccoons, but with humans it can reportedly induce a euphoric high, sometimes with visual hallucinations. Local biologist Randy Babb told ABC 15 the thieves might have been looking to lick the toads—which is just one way to get high on the venom. Users have figured out how to extract it from the toads by stroking the glands in the their backs, allowing them to dry it into a crystal-like form that can be smoked.

Officials with the conservation area turned footage of the thieves—who, between giggling their asses off and making a weird joke about masturbation, seemed like they were having a pretty good time out there—over to the local sheriff's office. Meanwhile, the toad burglars are still at large, presumably tripping balls in some backyard crawling with extremely hallucinogenic amphibians.

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