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Q. What’s so bad about cane toads?
A. Cane toads (also known as Bufo toads) can kill dogs and cats. And in South Florida, cane toads are simply everywhere... including your yard.
Dogs often chase or try to "play" with cane toads; they may lick, nose-nudge or pick up cane toads in their mouth. This exposes your pet to a rapid-acting toxin, which is then absorbed by the membranes in the dog’s mouth, causing symptoms ranging in severity from drooling, head-shaking and crying... to loss of coordination, convulsions and death.
Q. Why do you have to make multiple visits?
A. Toads are moving creatures! While our highly trained technicians make every effort to catch and remove every toad, new ones may hop over from the neighbors, may have been in a hidden nest or may have been too small to see on during a toad-busting visit.
Q. Is there a toad season?
A. The hotter and wetter period from March to November typically spurs the toad population in South Florida. However, we collect toads year ‘round and we have seen toads still breeding in December. We live in a tropical climate, which allows frogs and toads to be out feeding and reproducing all 12 months of the year.
Q. What does a Bufo toad sound like?
Q. What do Bufo toads look like?
A. They are usually 4 to 6 in. (max. 9.5 in.) Note: With very few exceptions, any toad in Florida that is larger than 4 inches is NOT native and is almost certainly an invasive cane toad. Their body is tan to reddish-brown, dark brown, or gray. Their back is marked with dark spots and their skin is warty. Large, triangular parotoid glands are prominent on the shoulders; parotoid glands of native "true" toads are oval. Unlike native Southern Toads, they DO NOT have ridges or "crests" on top of the head.
Q. Are Bufo toads dangerous to humans?
A. Yes. Toad toxins can be harmful to people, too. The toxin can cause skin and eye irritation in humans who handle the toads. If you’re going to handle toads, make sure to wear protective garments and gloves. If handling them with bare hands, wash thoroughly with soap and water.
Q. What are the symptoms to look for if my dog came into contact with a Bufo toad?
A. Salivating, shaking head, licking lips, bright pink gums, dilated eyes. Their body temperature will begin to rise, and in severe cases they lose motor control and eventually have a seizure. If not treated, death can occur.
Have a plan in place, know what to look for, know what to do and know where your local and emergency vets are located. Time is of the essence when dealing with toad toxin.
Q. What should you do if your pet comes into a toad?
A. Immediately use wet paper towels to wipe out the toxin from all parts of their mouth. Once used, throw the paper towel away and use another one, as the more toxin you remove from your pet’s mouth… the better. Then drive to the nearest pet emergency clinic for further treatment.
Q. What does Toad Busters do with the toads collected?
A. Toads are sometimes shipped out of the country or to colder states for use as pets. This productive use of the animal is only to places where they will not survive due to cold temperatures if accidentally released. Other times they are used for educational purposes. When we can’t find a useful purpose for them, they are humanely euthanized according to the University of Florida Department of Ecology and Conservation and Florida Fish & Wildlife protocols.