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.
This interactive map from The University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health shows where the toads are being reported.
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
- 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:
Remove food that can attract cane toads and their prey:
Get more information on the bufo toad from FWC by clicking here.