A cane toad invasion

A cane toad invasion

After a rainy spell, folks in south Florida are facing an invasion of toxic toads.

The warty cane toad — or bufo toad — produces a milky toxin on its back. Licking or even sniffing this fluid can make a dog or cat very sick — or worse — within 15 minutes. Just some of the signs of toxicity include drooling, red gums, crying and neurologic problems.

Cane toads are usually over 4 inches long and vary in color from tan to brown or gray. They have dark spots on their backs and large triangular glands on their shoulders that produce their cloudy toxin when they’re bothered. Although they look similar to native southern toads, cane toads don’t have the characteristic ridges on top of their head.

If your pet licks a cane toad, wipe his mouth out but don’t flush with water. And do it quickly — he needs veterinary help right away.

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