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No. 127: Jan-Feb 2000

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Stoned Dogs

When Australian dog owners see their pets come home frothing at the mouth and disoriented, they know they have a drug problem -- not coke or pot but toads! The ugly, venomous cane toad. Cane toads are consummate pests in Queensland. Their venom is so powerful that would-be predators avoid them. Early on, domestic dogs gave them a wide berth, too. Then, somehow, one dog discovered that by gently mouthing a cane toad, it acquired just enough venom to give it a high. Just how, we don't know, but in some way the word was passed around the canine world, and toad-mouthing became widespread. Some dogs are so hooked that they sneak out at night for quick fixes and even ignore their food dish.

(Anonymous; "Feedback," New Scientist, p. 96, July 24, 1999.)

From Science Frontiers #127, JAN-FEB 2000. 1997 William R. Corliss