Pet owners are being warned to keep an eye on them when they're outside. Not only is it alligator mating season, but the Bufo, or Cane toads are prevalent during the rainy season, and they're potentially deadly to dogs.
"They can have a toxin on their body that they'll excrete through their glands when they get agitated or they feel threatened. That's their defense mechanism. That toxin can be fatal to pets in as little as 15 minutes."
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carol Lyn Parrish says "The dog naturally may try to lick the toad and that's where that conduction of the toxin happens."
If your dog acts disoriented, has seizures or foams at the mouth, it may have taken in the toxins. You need to wash it out of the dog's mouth right away, then take it to a vet.
Parrish says the Bufo toad is not native to our state.
"It's a non-native amphibian that was introduced into Florida and they're fairly large."
She says it was brought here for the purposes of pest management and the population boomed.
The toads grow anywhere form 6 to 9 inches in length, much larger than the native toads or frogs and they're always here.
"They're breeding year-round in any area that contains standing water."
With the rainy season upon us, that means there are more of these amphibians around. But, keeping them off of your property would go a long way in saving your pet's life.
"Keep your grass cut short. Fill in any holes around structures. Trim the underside of your shrubs, keeping the branches off the ground. Keeping any brush piles or clutter out of your yard."
Parrish adds that if you feed your dog outside, that food could attract the toads, so be sure to bring in the bowl immediately afterward.
For more details on the Bufo toad, visit MyFWC.com.
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