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Dealing with Cane (Bufo) Toads
What is a Cane Toad?
The Cane toad also known as the Bufo, Marine Toad or Giant Toad is a large amphibian that is considered an invasive species to Florida. The body of a Cane Toad is usually 4 to 9 inches in size and is tan, reddish-brown to grayish-brown. It’s back is marked with spots and will have large, triangular parotoid glads on the shoulders. Unlike native Southern Toads, they do not have ridges or crests on top of the head.
Photo Credit: University of Florida (IFAS)
How does the Cane Toad toxin affect animals and humans?
The skin-gland secretions from a Cane Toad is called Bufotoxin. It is highly toxic and can be lethal to wildlife and pets that try to consume or bite them. Once bitten or swallowed, the symptoms of poisoning include, but are not limited, to excessive drooling and extremely red gums, head-shaking, crying, loss of coordination, sometimes convulsions and can lead to death. The toxin can also effect humans by irritating your skin and eyes.
How to care for your pet once an encounter has happened?
What you do immediately after the incident is crucial to the outcome of your pet’s safety. Veterinarians recommend to first wiping your pet’s tongue and gums with a cloth. Secondly, wash your pet’s mouth out with water for approximately ten minutes. The goal is to rinse the mouth, tongue and gums without letting your pet swallow the water. If your pet is large, use a hose. If your pet is small, put him in the sink and use the facet or sink sprayer. Lastly, after rinsing your pet’s mouth, take him to the nearest veterinarian.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences outlines the above items in an instructional video. Click here to view this video.
How can I deter Cane Toads from my property?
The most effective way to deter Cane Toads from your yard is to limit or remove potential habitat and food sources. There are several ways to do this such as cutting your grass regularly, filling in any holes around structures, trimming shrubs near ground level, removing clutter around your home and bring outdoor pet food and water bowls inside at night.
Can I remove Cane Toads from my property? The answer is yes.
Cane Toads are not protected in Florida, except by anti-cruelty laws and can be removed from private property year-round. The Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) encourages the extermination of Cane Toads from private properties. Captured Cane Toads cannot be relocated and released elsewhere. Hired wildlife trappers are available to assist with the removal of these toads, which can be found by searching online. Homeowners may also remove Cane Toads from their property. Click here to find out more about how to humanely euthanasia Cane Toads.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences outlines removing Cane Toads with an instructional video. Click here to view this video.
(Information Sources: Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Florida Trend, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences)