Living in Costa Rica requires the same kind of attitude: to enjoy the Toucans you have to suffer the Toads.
The first time I saw the house Nancy had bought us outside Guacimo, Alujuela, Costa Rica, I was standing by the pool under the rancho (yeah, I’m bragging. If you want to come visit, it’s OK. 🙂 ) and a magnificent Toucan flew to a branch not twenty feet from where I stood.
He showed me both sides of his beak to prove he didn’t have a “bad side” before flying further down the hill into more dense trees above our coffee crop (I am insufferable I know.) What fantastic bird. In my back yard.
When I related the story to our friends who have lived in Costa Rica for years, they were suitably impressed because Toucans are kinda flighty when it comes to human beans. We saw one at their house, but it stayed at least 50 meters away.
Not my Toucan. He was a show-off.
Then Frances told us about the toads. Bufo alvarius. Deadly to dogs. Fun for the human beans. Some bufo toads secrete a poison through their skin. For human beans, licking the toad is great sport. The secretion gives the toad-licker the same effect as a hit of LSD. A toad-studier calls this “bufoglossation.”
We would call it “stupid.”
Look at that sucker. Would you rub your tongue over that without a hit of LSD first?
Since dogs tend to weigh less than human bean toad-lickers, dogs can die. They get all spazzie and droolie.
To save a dog toad-licker, Frances advises to flush their mouth out with a garden hose, force milk and lemon juice down their gullet at hurry them to her or a vet for a shot of Atropin. She’s had to do it twice and saved the dogs both times.
I have yet to run into the human bean equivalent of these kinds of toads in Costa Rica. But I’m sure they are there. I’ll just try to remember the Toucans I have met, and forget the Toads.