A hallucinogenic toad in peril

 

I lived in prime Sonoran Desert Toad habitat from 1989-2019 and read “A hallucinogenic toad in peril” (July 2021) with interest, especially since I know people who occasionally harvested the toad’s hallucinogenic secretions. The habitat I refer to is a facility built on abandoned cotton fields in Pinal County, Arizona. Nightly watering of the grass combined with security lights that attracted insects created an artificial, but apparently very hospitable, toad habitat. The population went through wild fluctuations every few years, though. Sometimes the toads would be abundant to the point of inconvenience as they gathered near outside security lights to feast on insects, making getting through the doors a challenge. Other years we would remark on how few there were. I suspect the cyclical population changes were due to many factors other than human harvesting.

Bryan Burke
Bellingham, Washington

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