Surinam toads and how to use them against me

I don’t generally talk about my phobias in public, as I have this fear that they might be used against me somehow. But, I’m going to make an exception tonight, as there isn’t anything else that I’m dying to talk about, other than the fact that Boner from Growing Pains has gone missing. So, if you’ve been reading this site for the past 7 years, just waiting for me to let my guard down, and mention my Kryptonite, here’s something that should fit the bill… I’m petrified of gestating, male Surinam Toads. If you put me in a room with one, I’d confess to killing the Lindberg baby, OJ’s wife, and everyone in between.

Here’s some background from Wikipedia:

Surinam toads are most well-known for their remarkable reproductive habits. Unlike the majority of toads the males of this species cannot attract mates with croaks and other sounds often associated with these aquatic animals. Instead they produce a sharp clicking sound by snapping the hyoid bone in their throat. The partners rise from the floor while in amplexus and flip through the water in arcs. During each arc, the female releases 3-10 eggs, which get embedded in the skin on her back by the male’s movements. After implantation the eggs sink into the skin and form pockets over a period of several days, eventually taking on the appearance of an irregular honeycomb. The larvae develop through the tadpole stage inside these pockets, eventually emerging from the mother’s back as fully developed toads, though they are less than an inch long.

There’s something about larvae growing under the skin that just doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s all the urban myths I heard as a kid about spiders laying eggs under people’s skin, but it just freaks me the hell out.

Just writing about this makes me itch.

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  1. Lacy
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I once had what I thought was a massive, massive zit at the base of my septum. When I squeezed it, what looked like a half formed and dying (but still twitching, I swear) codling moth came out. I took it my doctor who, although visibly skeptical and dismissive of my specimen, upon inspecting the septum wound, suggested that due to my abnormally large pores, I should wash more frequently.

    I’ve followed her advice, but that hasn’t stopped me from obsessively inspecting the discharge of every pimple I pop. So far, nothing else has wiggled, but I frequently find what I think could be a thorax and/or labial palp.

    Moral of the story. If you have large pores, invest in better window screens and be careful where you swim.

    (And no, these little facts aren’t included in my profile on I appreciate the discretion of readers on this matter. Some tidbits are best reserved for the honeymoon suite.)

  2. Mike Shecket
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Ewwwwww!!! Ewwwwwwwwwww!!!!!! Now you’re gonna make everybody else think about it. Thanks a lot.

  3. Yellow Dog
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I hope to God, Lacy, that you’re just saying that to freak Mark out.

  4. Ted
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    No discussion about creatures incubating under the skin would be complete without mention of the Human Botfly.

  5. Kim
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to watch that without getting itchy?

  6. Edward
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’m told, however, that Botfly larvae are delicious.

  7. Lacy
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I wish I were Yellow Dog, but if I’d wanted to freak Mark out, I would’ve saved myself the embarrassment and just linked to this.

  8. Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Seriously Mark? I could have lived my whole life without knowing about this….it’s totally disgusting! EEEWWWWWWWWWW Remind me to flick you with my fingers the next time I see you.

  9. dragon
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I’d rather have huge success and huge failures than travel in the middle of the toad.

  10. Chelsea
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Yeah: pretty gross. But interesting. Like bats. However, these freaky toads can’t hurt you.

  11. Posted February 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s been a few hours and I still have goosebumps and the heeby jeebies…sheesh

  12. Susan Carpenter
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Now I know what to get Clementine for Christmas:

  13. Fran
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The botfly is sooooo much more creepy, IMHO. I like this Animal Planet piece on it…”keep away from botflies”. Oh, ok.

    Flies and mosquitoes working together. Is there anything more disgusting?

  14. Ed
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who finds it somewhat erotic?

  15. 2 Cents
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    My skin is crawling now. Thanks.

  16. Free Nuns
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen these in the bathroom at Zingermans.

  17. Posted February 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    The toad creeps me out more than the fly. The maggots are invasive, but the baby toads are SUPPOSED to be like that. That’s the toad’s version of perfect love.

    You have to let us all live in your back, Mark, if you love us.

  18. Lacy
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink


    That Etsy link was beautiful. I’m going to contact the artist and see if they can do something with botflies.

  19. Posted February 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    It all makes me want to pop a zit.

  20. Posted February 23, 2010 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    I don’t know; I think human reproduction might be creepier.

  21. Ted
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with Doug. All of us “meat” creatures are disgusting compared to the likes of flowers.

  22. Posted February 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    They found Boner – that was sad.

  23. Posted February 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that’s sad about Andrew Koenig. Depression sucks. And I hate seeing good people fall victim to it. From everything that I’ve read, he was a wonderful person, and my heart goes out to his friends and family.

  24. Posted February 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    And I know it’s probably in terrible taste, but when you wrote “They’ve found Boner” the first thing to pop into my mind was “We’ve got bush.”

  25. Edward
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Do you think they really said “We’ve got Boner” when they found him?

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