WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Heavy rains cause a massive influx of toxic cane toads in a South Florida neighborhood, causing pet owners to be alarmed.
- The bufo toads, more commonly known as cane toads, secrete a milky toxin that can potentially be fatal to pets and children.
- The poisonous cane toads have already injured and killed a number of dogs and other pets that lick or bite them.
Heavy rains in Florida brought a massive influx of bufo toads or cane toads, creating fears to pet owners as these critters are poisonous.
According to lead technician Mark Holladay of the South Florida toad removal service Toad Busters, these toads pose a risk to both pets and children.
“With the warmer winter and then we had a rain two to three weeks ago, a torrential rain, that caused them to go into a breeding cycle,” he told local NBC affiliate WPTV. “They’re not safe for pets or children. If a pet was to ingest too many of them, even at that small size, it would cause a problem.”
In 1936, these toxic toads were introduced to Florida as a means to control sugar cane pests. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers them as an invasive species.
According to the National Geographic, cane toads secrete a milky liquid near their shoulders which consists of a mix of toxins that affects the heart’s functions.
Ray Simonsen Sr., owner of Ray the Trapper — a wildlife removal company —told local Fox affiliate WFTX that the species have been so invasive, he can catch hundreds of them easily.
“I can pick up 200 to 300 in an evening, without a blink of an eye,” Simonsen said. “They will be in the pine needles, they will be in the mulch, around the landscaping. These guys will just burrow into the mulch, they can be hard to see.”
When a pet licks, bites or picks a toad up, its milky secretion stick to its mouth, causing drooling, seizures, loss of coordination, or even death.
Holladay warns south Floridians to watch their pets as the toads will stay for a long time.
“There will be another influx like this in 22 days when the next batch hatches out. And this is in every community in Florida,” he said.