Toxic bufo toads that can be deadly for your pet within minutes reported in Central Florida

Posted at 7:31 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 07:31:35-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The toxic bufo toad can kill your pet in as little as 15 minutes, and they're being reported in Central Florida.

Also known as cane toads, the invasive species secrete a milky-white toxin, known as bufotoxin, from glands on the back of their heads that can be deadly to dogs and cats.

Toxic cane toads pose deadly threat to pets in Southwest Florida< /span>

This interactive map from The University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health shows where the toads are being reported.

bufo-toad.png<div class="Figure-credit" itemprop="author">Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages homeowners to kill the toads if found on their property. According to FWC, the toads are native to the Amazon basin in South America and north to the lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas.

FWC says they were introduced into Florida in the 1930s and 40s to control pests in sugar cane.

How to spot them

  • Reddish-brown to grayish-brown in color
  • Light-yellow or beige belly
  • Enlarged glands behind the eyes that angle down to the shoulders
  • 6 to 9 inches in length
  • Do not have ridges across the head, that's a southern toad

What to do if your pet bites or swallows a bufo toad

Symptoms may include:

  • Frantic or disoriented behavior
  • Brick red gums
  • Seizures
  • Foaming at the mouth

What to do:

  • Wash toxins forward out of mouth using a hose for ten minutes being careful not to direct water down the throat
  • Wipe gums/tongue with dish towel to remove toxins
  • Get your pet to the vet!

What to do if you come into contact with one

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Wear gloves when handling

How to keep them off your property

Remove places where cane toads or their prey can hide or seek shelter:

  • Cut your grass regularly and keep it short
  • Fill in any holes around structures
  • Trim the underside of shrubs
  • Keep branches or riprap off the ground
  • Clear away brush piles
  • Remove clutter

Remove food that can attract cane toads and their prey:

  • Feed pets indoors when possible
  • Bring outdoor pet food and water bowls indoors at night
  • Clean up any food scraps from pet bowls or outside tables and grills

FWC Flyer Cane Toads and Pets by wftsweb on Scribd

Get more information on the bufo toad from FWC by clicking here.