Taiwanese dies from eating toads, 5 injured

Man from eastern Taiwan's Hualien County mistook poisonous central Formosan toads for frogs

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Central Formosan toads

Central Formosan toads (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man living in eastern Taiwan's Hualien County died from poisoning after eating central Formosan toads that he and his friends mistook for frogs.

Hualien Tzu Chi Medical Center notified local health authorities earlier this month when they suspected the man had died from poisoning. On Tuesday (Dec. 17), the Hualien Bureau of Health confirmed that the group of six living in Fengbin Township had eaten the poisonous toads.

Bureau Director-General Chu Chia-hsiang (朱家祥) said health experts had found a chemical in the leftovers of the meal. The chemical, bufotenin, is commonly produced by central Formosan toads (Bufo bankorensis).

Chu indicated that the deceased was among a group of six who had been given several of the amphibians, which they had mistook for frogs. The men cooked and ate them without skinning them and removing the offal, where the toxic bufotenin accumulates.

The men began vomiting and experienced limb paralysis before being rushed to the hospital. One of them died before reaching the hospital, but his friends survived and have safely returned home.