Well it used to make me cringe, as toads do make me cringe. But out of curiosity I ordered one and it turned out to be alright. The final product feels no different than other straps made out of any animal skins.
The cane toad has poison glands, and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Because of its voracious appetite, the cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of agricultural pest control. The species derives its common name from its use against the cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum). The cane toad is now considered a pest and an invasive species in many of its introduced regions; of particular concern is its toxic skin, which kills many animals, both wild and domesticated. Cane toads are particularly dangerous to dogs.
As a final point...it does seem quite likely that toad, python, ray, lizard, and some of the croc/gator options, are all visually distinctive and will be interpreted as wild animal skins. This is going to push some peoples' buttons. (OK, so will any animal product, but any exotic skin is going to create a stronger reaction, and more often, than cow or horse leather.) This is something you may wish to consider...especially if you're going with a vibrant strap, like the green wtma posted.
Very good info gangrel, thanks!
I’ve been wearing my toad skin strap for a few days now, I had some friends asking about it and no one seemed offended or something. Hopefully I will never come across ones who does, your post will be useful to give those people some explanations.
Yeah, it's not all that likely anyone is gonna get in your face about a strap. They'd have to notice, be the type to take offense, AND be the type of personality to become vocal. Presumably doing so to a person they don't know, in a generic, public location. NOT gonna work.
I think any highly patterned leather like toad, python, or ray just has a generally narrower range of watches where it's a good match...at least with my little hoard. But most are fairly traditionally styled. And ya never know what ya might stumble upon...like below. Not toad straps...these are ostrich, from StrappedForTime:
I want to point out the almond and linen; never seen anything quite like them from any other source. And I think they're VERY attractive. So ya never know...there's always a chance you'll see something distinctive.
I really like my exotics...in fact I just received a Teju from Kenny at Freda today (if you read this: thanks, it looks great!) and while I wasn't sure to begin with I really like the look of the toad. I certainly looks a lot better than it sounds and honestly I'm already plotting against one to add to the collection of: stingray, shark, alligator, crocodile, cowhide, & as of today teju. It's a strong look, but I'm sure that I have a watch that it would look good on and I imagine that it would make for a nice thin dress style leather much like lizard or snake. As of this moment I'm thinking either a toad or horn-back alligator is the next one to grab.
Honestly about the only exotic that I've seen and not cared for is ostrich...incidentally it's probably the most popular after gator/croc/caiman, but I've just never cared for the spotted look.
To each their own, but I feel that ostrich looks like a hole punch that didn't quite make it all of the way through the leather. Ray on the other hand looks fantastic. I have a black/gray one (similar to the one you have in the image above, but without the center/larger pearls as above) on an original Seiko Cocktail Time and, while it may seem an odd choice for the watch, I love the look because it's easy to dress up or down and is very unusual with loads of character.
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