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Bufo Toad Dangers in Florida
Here in Florida, there are a number of creatures that can pose a threat to your pet, but one of the most dangerous is the venomous Bufo toad. Although Bufo toads are most prevalent in early spring and during the rainy season, they can be found lurking in any month, due to our year-round hot, humid temperatures. One of the best ways to protect your pet from these deadly toads is simply by learning about them.
What Exactly Is a Bufo Toad?
Bufo toads (also known as Canine or Marine Toads) are the largest frog or toad species in the state of Florida. They are about 5 inches long, weigh more than two pounds, and are tan in color. These toads are native to South and Central America, but are now found in central and southern Florida cities, including Fort Lauderdale.
Although the warm and wet climates are when you’d be most likely to encounter a Bufo toad, they actually breed year-round in ditches, streams, and standing water. If threatened, whether it’s by being picked up by human hands or a pet’s mouth, the Bufo toad secretes a highly toxic, milk-like poison from large glands on its neck behind the ears as a defense mechanism.
What Are the Symptoms of Bufo Toad Poisoning?
Once a Bufo toad has secreted its poison, it can easily burn the eyes and irritate the skin of a human, but it can do far worse. The toxin is absorbed through the mucus membranes of the mouth. If your dog or cat were to absorb enough of this poison, they could die in a matter of minutes. Some of the most common symptoms of Bufo toad poisoning include:
- Head shaking
- Reddened gums
- Excessive salivation
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
If you ever suspect your pet has been exposed to a Bufo toad, you should immediately flush out their mouth by running water down the side of the mouth, making sure to point the head downward. Also rub the gums and mouth, but make sure you do so as quickly as possible. This will remove any unabsorbed toxin. Then contact Arbor Pet Hospital at (954)565-1896 immediately. Time is critical in dealing with Bufo toad toxicity. The severity of symptoms is related to the amount of toxin absorbed.
How Can I Protect My Pet From Bufo Toads?
Since Bufo toads live in vegetation, usually near water, the obvious way to protect your pet is to make sure they don’t play in bushes near ditches, ponds, or other areas where these toads might be hiding. During walks, always keep your pet on a leash as well. Another way to protect your pet is simply by knowing the characteristics of a Bufo toad, since there are many toad and frog species in Florida that aren’t poisonous. Bufo toads:
- Have large, triangular poison glands near their head
- Have smooth heads (no bumps or knobs)
- Have dry, warty skin
- Tan color
If you would like more information on Bufo toads, contact Arbor Pet Hospital in Fort Lauderdale at (954)565-1896, and be sure to check back on our site regularly for the next educational article!