The warty assassin of Camp Salmen is the dark, malignant Mr. Toad. He lurks in the shadows by day, hiding under logs and debris or backed down into holes into which one should probably not reach; staring blankly out at the world, throat thumping, pondering heavy fate, biding his time for the night...
It is then he steps from his obscure hideout to become a Night Terror, going where insects are attracted to light and scarfing up any invertebrate that amble too close or have the misfortune to fall or land in front of him. His fat, sticky tongue, hinged from the front of his wide, trap door mouth, leaps out in an instant. Before the bug knows what happened, it is glued and quickly ushered past the throbbing throat to an unspeakable end.
The three types of toads common to Slidell are the Fowler's (Bufo fowleri), Gulf Coast (Bufo valliceps) and the Coastal Plain Toad (Bufo nebulifer). All three are similar in appearance with lumps, bumps and warts, a faint stripe in the middle of the back and its own pattern of dark spots and splotches on top and pale color underneath. They pose a similar threat to anyone stupid or desperate enough to put one in their mouth and get a dose of sticky toxin that can inflame the tissues, cause nausea, irregular heart beat and possibly death, or at least taste bad. Our readers should avoid doing this or licking their fingers after handing the amphibian. Toad worshipers in the American Southwest and elsewhere on the planet have been known to do this on purpose for the psychoactive bufotoxins, but they’re just crazy.
This brings up some important Toad Questions:
- Q: Where is Toad Suck, AR and why is it called that? A: One theory says the drunken river men working on the Arkansas River went to town and "sucked on the bottle 'til they swoll up like toads" and another says the name is based on a French term for a river channel. At least the Arkansans were wise enough to lay off the toads.
- Q: Why do toads pee on your hand and what does this accomplish? A: Unlike the abovementioned problem, this particular body fluid-release is mostly water and its main intention is to make you immediately set the toad back down.
- Q: What did Jim Morrison mean when he sang, “His brain was squirming like a toad,” in the Doors’ song LA Woman? A: Obviously this song was about a tortured soul and written by a tortured soul, or he was singing about a person who had just put a toad in his mouth.