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I Keep Forgetting The Toad In The Freezer

TRIGGER WARNING: This post could upset animal activists or those with sensitivities to life-cycles and the balance between humans and animals. So see, I'm not all bad - I wouldn't have put this up here if I was.

What makes that that not only is it metaphorical, it's also literal. I actually have a toad, frozen, in my freezer, unwillingly waiting to move on to the trash heap.

Why? as a friend recently opined on my Facebook page when I made this same statement.

Well, it's a cane toad, aka a bufo toad. An invasive, toxic species that doesn't belong here. They have a somewhat sordid history, involving shortsighted humans on multiple continents, made famous by an Australian documentary made in back in 1988. They were introduced in our part of the world around 1935 or so and will eat just about anything...including small birds and rodents.

But that's not why it's in the freezer. These amphibians can kill your pet - within 15 minutes depending, or at least make them very, very sick. Ours had a run in with one, luckily not too intense of one a while back, but there's nothing like seeing your beloved pet foaming at the mouth and acting erratically. Dog is still with us - he seems to have a pretty solid constitution overall, but had our dog had more interaction - he wouldn't be with us now, and so that toad that created that situation also wound up with the same fate. But it had a much shorter stay in the freezer. It was significantly larger than this one, so that may have been the primary reason it was exited so quickly.

This one, was younger, and it made the whole experience much, much, harder.

You have to catch them first - which is tricky in itself. This one was smaller, and faster. We had to move so many pieces of furniture to finally corner it...just thinking about what cascade of activity that would trigger was enough to make me want to end this bugger. I didn't invite it in. It came in. Had it just stayed wouldn't now be in the freezer.

Once you do manage to corner and catch it, of course it needs to be in a container that can hold it can jump...but it can't climb well - unlike its cousins - frogs, they don't have the stickiness to climb, and watching them desperately try to scramble up plastic or glass sides is, admittedly, painful to watch. You get a sense that they have a sense that this isn't going to end well.

You could just stick in the freezer then, but that's just inhumane - even though you're probably traumatizing the toad anyway - adding a long, slow death where they are fully aware of what's happening to them just doesn't seem right. So, you have to render it unconscious. You can't touch them - well, I suppose you could with gloves - but those poison glands can shoot out that liquid if you handle the incorrectly, so pithing them isn't an option.

Therefore, the only real option is to get them to sleep.

No, we're not rocking them, or singing lullabies.

We're gassing them. Benzocaine works great - you know the kind you spray on yourself after a sunburn. Or is it Lidocaine? Whatever the 'caine - though not cocaine - that would do the exact opposite of what you're trying to achieve here - you spray it, copiously on them, in the container, and then clap that container shut. The container fogs up somewhat and the unwitting toad calms down, slows down, and eventually falls asleep. So hard that it's just incapable of reaction. Does it die then? Maybe. I suppose it depends on the concentration of the anesthetic relative to the size of the animal. The bigger one took a while and a lot...this one...not so much.

You can tell they're ready to transfer when you move the container around and they just no longer react. So you slide them into a bag that will seal shut. Say something - maybe an apology - maybe a wish for them that things could have been different - whatever lament it may be (I'm sure others go with a more aggressive and angrier sendoff), and into the freezer they go, sitting between the ancient puff pastry that likely will never be used again and some old frozen microwave meal we forgot about.

I didn't feel as much remorse with the first one. It hurt our dog, and I was angry, and it was much easier to let that emotion guide my steps.

This one was different. It hadn't hurt anyone yet. And had it not come in the house, most likely it would still be lurking somewhere. These toads really do lurk - it's pretty much all they do. And it was young. A friend implored me to take it somewhere and let it free. But my gut and Google experts said to escort it to its chilly end as it would do nothing but most likely cause grief to someone else and eventually make more of them to do so.

And maybe that's why it's still in the freezer. The guilt. Three trash cycles have come and gone now since the incident and it's still in there. Theoretically, it could still be revived. Didn't some scientists recently reanimate something relatively ancient? And then there's sea-monkeys.

So, I keep forgetting about the toad in the freezer.

The image, by the way, is not THE toad...though I have photos that I used for identifying it with experts. But I felt that would be even more triggering potentially. So this one is just some other rando rana of the same species. So not totally rando, really.

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