Florida Pet Owners Warned of Invasive Toad: ‘Highly Toxic’


Florida pet owners were warned on Tuesday by the Village of Tequesta that they should “be aware” of the cane or bufo toad ahead of rainy season.

In their posts on social media, the Village of Tequesta said, “As we approach rainy season the frogs will multiply. Be aware of the Cane Toad (Bufo), an invasive amphibian in FL. To learn how to identify, remove, & protect pets against Bufo’s visit:

https://tequesta.org/1685/Dealing-with-Cane-Bufo-Toads… #CaneToads #PetSafety #FloridaWildlife #InvasiveSpecies.”

The cane toad, or commonly known as the bufo or giant toad, is considered to be an invasive species in the Sunshine State, according to the Village’s website. The toad’s “highly toxic” secretions from their skin glands can be deadly to pets who bite or eat them, and even impact humans.

The toad is a reddish-brown color, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with a lighter yellow underbelly. The toads are sometimes mistaken for the southern toad, a native amphibian, and can range in size from six to nine inches.

The Village of Tequesta posted the notice for residents “just to be aware,” the city clerk’s office told Newsweek via phone on Tuesday. The Clerk’s office also noted that Florida, not just Tequesta, has been dealing with the invasive amphibian for decades. The toads “are specific to this time of year,” the clerk’s office also noted, while mentioning the rainy season of May through the summer months.

According to the FWC, cane toads are native to South and Central America and even into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The cane toad is an omnivore and can even be tempted to eat pet food or human food if left out. The FWC also notes that the cane toad was “first introduced” to the state of Florida in the 1930s-40s to “control agricultural pests in sugar cane.” The toad can currently be found in south and central Florida, the FWC says.

The FWC also links to a map of credible cane toad sightings for residents to reference on their website.

Meanwhile, the Village of Tequesta also advised residents on what to do if your pet has an “encounter” with a cane toad, while also noting “immediate action is crucial.” Below is a list provided by the Village on their website:

  1. Wipe your pet’s tongue and gums with a cloth.
  2. Rinse your pet’s mouth with water for about ten minutes, being careful not to let your pet swallow the water. Use a hose for larger pets, and a sink faucet or sprayer for smaller pets.
  3. Take your pet to the nearest veterinarian immediately.

This article by Anna Commander was first published by Newsweek on 21 May 2024. Lead Image: SYDNEY, NSW – AUGUST 09: A Cane Toad is exhibited at Taronga Zoo August 9, 2005 in Sydney Australia. Floridians were asked to be aware of the Cane Toad on Tuesday amid rainy season, by… More PHOTO BY IAN WALDIE/GETTY IMAGES.

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