Cane Toads are back in SWFL

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 08:40:44-04

They're big, and they're back.  Poisonous cane toads are making an appearance in Southwest Florida.

A Collier County community has been finding several of them, including the 10-inch one pictured here.  And these toads can be deadly for your dog.

The huge toad was killed in the Saturnia Lakes subdivision in Naples.  "That's a big one, yeah, that's a great one.  I think think record that they had, was from Australia, and that was 15 inches," said Ian Easterling, of Wild Heart Eco Journeys.

These toads camouflage well at night and are making a comeback now that the rainy season is in full swing.  Easterling says they could be hiding in your backyard.  "In the soil, underneath the debris piles, underneath low lying hedges, so trim your hedges up a bit, make sure you mow your lawn, so the grass isn't too deep, they can't hide."

Dogs can drive these creatures out of hiding, which can be dangerous for them.

"The dog might not know, this is a Cane Toad, they just want to chase something, it's part of their instinct," said dog trainer Kevin Caferelli.

Caferelli says his obedience school, the Upbeat K9 will be offering a class that teaches dogs to avoid Cane Toads.  He got the idea after seeing so many of these deadly toads around Southwest Florida.

"When they're this size,  they are definitely gonna be dangerous to your dog, but also when they're 4 or 5 inches, they still have an appropriate amount of poison in their glands."

Bright red gums, and foaming at the mouth are signs your dog came into contact with one of these toads.

You should wash your dog's mouth out immediately and get it to an emergency vet.  Caferelli advises the best way to keep your best friend safe is to never let him out of your sight.

"I would really say micro manage your dog's behaviors while your outside, for example I have a leash on my dog all the time when we go outside."

Cats can also be killed by Cane Toads.  Experts recommend you keep any pet food inside your home because the toads will be attracted to it.