Florida Fauna & Flora – Cane Toad
Cane toads are native species from South America to southern Texas. The toads were introduced to Florida and have flourished as an invasive species. Also called a bufo, giant or marine toad, its body is reddish brown, dark brown, or gray. Some are uniform in color or could have darker markings.
Cane toads do not have ridges across their heads as seen on native southern toads. Cane toads are also much larger than native southern toads. They grow as large as nine inches, while southern toads grow to four inches.
Toads and frogs are often praised for their effective pest control abilities, but cane toads can be toxic or deadly to pets. They have enlarged glands behind their eyes which secrete bufotoxin as a form of defense against predators. Cane toad tadpoles are also poisonous if ingested.
Do not handle these toads without gloves and eye protection. Call ASPCA Pet Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 or your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has come in contact with a cane toad or tadpole.
Fun Fauna Fact: Cane toads were brought to Florida to control pests in sugar can crops in the 1930s and 40s. Escaped toads and the pet trade in the 50s and 60s are likely responsible for today’s large population.
Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Read the full March 2021 SECO News online.