Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are on the move and in the news. They are nonnative species that can be deadly to curious pets because they emit a milky toxin that sticks in the mouth of whatever tries to eat it. There are a lot of them in the areas around Rookery Bay Reserve - in fact, one of our volunteers, Paul Allen, has personally removed more than 1,000 toads from his neighborhood off Barefoot-Williams road over the past 3 years.
Keep your pets safe by reducing hiding places for these toads in your yard and avoid letting pets nose around in bushes while on walks. If your pet comes into contact with the toad's toxic secretion, symptoms include disoriented behavior, red gums, foaming at the mouth or seizures. If you think your pet has come into contact with a cane toad, flush its mouth for 10 minutes, wipe inside with a dish towel, and consult your vet ASAP.
In partnership with UF/IFAS, our local Southwest Florida CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area) has recently produced a three-part series on cane toads. Cane toads are an exotic species that have been implicated in the poisoning of pets, especially dogs.