These toxic toads have special glands that release poison when they feel threatened, which is a very effective defense mechanism; they have been known to kill household pets in minutes. It’s especially troubling for outdoors pets or those who take their meals outside, because the toad is attracted to dog water dishes. (For bathing and soaking, of course). Once the Bufo’s toxins have come in contact with your dog’s gums or any other mucous membranes, it won’t be long before you begin to see the effects.
Also sometimes referred to as the “Cane Toad”, this particular group of toads was imported into Florida in the 1930’s as a natural means of controlling sugar can pests, the “white worm”. This experiment came about after a similar experiment had been successful in Hawaii. However, that was obviously not a well-thought-out plan. They all quickly died. Of course, the sugar industry wasn’t quite ready to give up. They followed up with a few more attempts, one in Glades County and one in Dade County, both of which failed. Nothing changed for the species until the 1950’s when a large shipment of toads broke free from their shipping container while on the tarmac at Miami airport. This time, they were able to establish themselves, and through an interesting series of events, were able to migrate through the canal systems found throughout South Florida.
Since their introduction in the early-to-mid 1900’s, they have proliferated at alarming rates, particularly in the southern states. The Bufo Toad is the largest species of toad in the world. In fact, it has been known to grow as large as 1 foot wide and weigh as much as 5 pounds! They also love to eat, and they will quickly swallow up any smaller creatures that the encounter.
So, while your pet doesn’t necessarily need to worry about being swallowed by a toad, the toxins that they produce are of significant concern, especially during the warm rainy months. It’s extremely important to monitor your yard for signs of the Bufo Toad. If you see them in your yard, speak with an expert about how you can safely remove them. (Do not try to touch the toad, because their toxins have also been known to cause skin irritation in humans.) When taking your pet outdoors, be sure that he is she is closely supervised. If you have seen the toads in your yard, leash walking your pet is best until you know that they are no longer a problem.
The potential harm that is caused by the Bufo Toad is not something that you should talk lightly. If your pet has been exposed, immediately wash his or her face and mouth, and contact your veterinarian immediately.