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Natural Resources Department issues guidance on cane toads in Sanibel

FWC reminds pet owners to protect pets from 'very poisonous' bufo toads
Posted at 10:40 AM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 23:54:44-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — The City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department issued guidance on cane toads.

Sanibel has seen a lot of rain recently. With the rain, many amphibian species have become more visible.

One of these amphibians is the highly invasive cane toad, also known as bufo toads or marine toads. Cane toads were first documented on Sanibel in July of 2013 during a routine monthly frog-call survey.

Despite initial efforts to control the spread of this invasive, exotic species, the population has steadily increased. It has established a permanent presence here on Sanibel mainly because these toads are prolific breeders, laying 8,000-30,000 eggs in one breeding event.

The Natural Resources Department says Cane toads can pose severe risks to pets and wildlife. Cane toads have a big appetite and can eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths. This trait poses a threat to our native wildlife and attracts cane toads to residential areas when pet food/feces or garbage is left out. It is not uncommon to see a cane toad eating right out of the dog food bowl left on a porch. This increases the risk for a toad-pet interaction.

Cane toads are not aggressive. However, when threatened, cane toads will excrete a milky white toxin, which can be both irritating to humans and potentially deadly to domestic animals and wildlife.

Here are some tips for prevention the Department wants you to know,

  • Do not allow your pets to roam free, especially at night and after rain, since this is when cane toads are most active.
  • Make your yard less toad-friendly by removing any attractants such as food or debris piles where toads can hide.
  • If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, seek immediate veterinary attention. If you handle a cane toad, wash your hands immediately after contact.

The Natural Resources Department has provided a video to learn more about cane toads in Florida and also how to identify signs of poisoning and methods of treatment for a family pet that encounters a cane toad.

Watch here.

For more information or assistance with cane toad identification, contact Environmental Specialist Joel Caouette by email at or by phone (239) 472-3700.

Natural Resource Department Sanibel