Pet Owners, Beware of the Marine Toads


If you are a resident of Pinellas, beware of the toxic toads as they are reported to poison pets. And wildlife officials have warned residents to keep an eye out for them.

Other common names for marine toads are cane toad, bufo toad, and giant toad. Marine toads may be present in your yards or town, and if your pet bites one, he can die within fifteen minutes, sometimes early.

Recently, numerous cases of marine toads are reported in Pinellas County and Dunedin last year. Currently, officials of Belleair said that residents discovered cane toads in the yard of their Osceola Road home.

Researchers have warned residents that these frogs and toads love the wet weather and can be found anywhere near you. They have an excellent sense of smell and prey by movement, commonly attack beetles, grasshoppers, gastropods, plant matter, and even crustaceans.

“Cane toads are most commonly found in yards, around buildings, and near canals or ponds,” said Lisa Thompson, a spokesperson for FWC. “They are often found on developed land in urban, suburban and agricultural areas.”

Lisa has recommended residents cut their grass short, fill holes around structures, trim bushes and shrubs to keep away marine toads. She also suggested removing human and pet food sources from the tables. She further suggested keeping items that attract bugs out of yards, as bugs are part of the diet of marine toads.

In case your pet swallows or bites a marine toad, experts suggest washing their mouth with a tube, being careful not to shower the water down their throats. Or best option is to get your pets to a veterinarian.



What are Marine Toads?

Bufo Marinus is the scientific name for the cane toad; they were first located in the 1930s in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. They are giant terrestrial toads native to Central and South America and are considered the world’s worst invasive pests.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation reported that the sugar cane industry first introduced species of marine toads for pests control. But these southern toads managed to escape the sugar cane fields, and over time they spread to all nearby states, including Pinellas (Florida, the United States). As a result, marine toads are considered the most toxic and deadly invasive species among all species of toads.

Marine toads are reddish-brown with a light yellow belly, six to nine inches long, with long strings, triangular parotid glands behind their eyes. These large glands secrete a milky-white toxin to protect them against predators, and it could be your beloved pet.


Bottom Line:

The laws of Florida do not protect marine toads except by anti-cruelty laws. So, in case you find any marine toad, FWC recommends capturing them and freezing them as a humane way of killing the pests. Another suggested humane way of dispatching pests is spraying lidocaine or benzocaine on them.

If exposed to marine toads, humans can suffer from skin allergy and eye irritation. So, humans are suggested to use gloves and plastic bags while dealing with them.

All that being said, be careful while correctly recognizing and dealing with marine toads.