Bufo Toad Dangers in Florida

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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.

Bufo toad

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:

  • Drooling
  • Head shaking
  • Reddened gums
  • Excessive salivation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Whimpering/crying
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

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.

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