13 July 2011

Retirement +1: Toad Licking

Toads in Costa Rica are known to be dangerous but little did I know ... Before moving to CR, we had made contact with a Costa Rican dog rescue center because they had a cute 2 year old fox terrier which we thought would be a great companion for our 8 year old Jack Russell terrier, Randy. Alas, the night of July 11, the little fox terrier tried to eat a CR cane toad and died shortly thereafter. Having been out of contact because of the move, I didn't read the news of the little guy's demise until today, July 13. Coincidentally, our friends who picked us up at the San Jose airport on the 12th also warned us to watch Randy to make sure he didn't try to eat a toad.

That was enough for me. In my usual calmly freaked out way, I began a frenzied search of the Internet for information about the local toads and post-exposure countermeasures in case (when) Randy ran into one.

I was sitting out on the front porch, reading, getting more and more cranked up about the damn toads when a neighbor walked up. She wanted to show us how she thought that our back yard level was causing her (lower leveled) house to leak water through the walls. Standing there in the lawn, I remembered seeing a huge toad back there about a year ago. I was "on alert."

Suddenly, there was movement across the yard. Randy and I saw it at about the same instant. He took off running and barking; I took off running and yelling for him to stop [Note to self: When are you ever going to learn that once a Jack Russell's brain locks onto whatever it is chasing, yelling is pointless? Atomic bomb blasts would be pointless. Remember, there's no stopping a Jack on a roll.]

However, all of the yelling, combined with Randy's being a little off his game due to all of the events of the past few days, caused the boy to falter in the deep lawn and we arrived at the toad simultaneously. I managed to hook my toes under his chin and spun him sideways. Almost in control. Pat got to the spot just a couple of seconds later and grabbed our nitwit up off the ground.

And there I was ... face to face with a 6-inch freakin' classic example of what a Costa Rican poison toad looks like. Only 1 knife.

ONLY ONE KNIFE!! There. I've admitted it to the world. I was caught in a strange country, fresh from an airplane trip and had yet to properly re-equip myself, even though almost 24 hours had passed. The shame.

The one knife was a Byrd standard Rescue sheepsfoot serrated blade. That means no point on the blade, folks. Just super-sharp serrations.

Here comes the lesson ...

"No matter what a great and grand Blade Master you are, NEVER, EVER, hit a poison toad with a full swing slashing blow. Too much blood spatter, and, er, poison spatter."

The toad was thusly dispatched and carefully loaded into a plastic bag using the "picking up doggie poop" method.

But the knife was a mess. The yard was a murder scene. And unbeknownst to Mr. Blade Master, a bit of the gore had found a home at a tiny spot on my lip.

I cleaned the knife very thoroughly in running hot water and soap, then oiled it down. I also re-washed my hands and went back to the front porch to finish my poison toad research.

My lip tingled a little. A few minutes later, it was more than a tingle. It was very much like a shot of dental Novocain in the lip. I almost instantly figured this one out.

A quick dash to the bathroom and a hard scrub down with baby wipes, followed by soap and water, followed by about a 5 minute full-on blasting with city water. Then I looked in the mirror. Leapin' liz ... er, toads!

"Mah lip was all blowed up." Cripes. Yipes.

Pat really let me know that she did not enjoy seeing this. Silly girl. She wondered if the next moment would bring convulsions and cardio-pulmonary arrest. I assured her that my research verified that no such arresting had ever happened (I lied.) But I did know that just from a little brush with "toad licking," there wasn't much possibility of any serious affect.

So, we ate lunch: me trying not to bite my own fat lip; Pat watching for me to keel over. A good half hour into it, Pat took the photo. An hour after that, and I'm able to write this. No biggie.

I'll let you know if my face falls off.


  1. Seriously Dad? One day down there and a toad almost did ya in, huh? Quit lickin' them thar toads!

  2. Woa! That seems a cheaper method than cologen injections.