Pet owners in Florida are warned to watch out for toxic toads whose venom can kill a dog within minutes.
A poison produced in the glands on the side of the toads’ necks can sicken dogs and cats, causing seizures and sometimes resulting in death.
The poison can be transferred to pets that come into contact with toad by licking it or even just sniffing it.
The toads are also known as Giant toads, Cane toads or Marine toads. They are the largest of all toads and frogs in Floria, up to 6 inches long and weighing two pounds or more. (Source: Florida Wildlife Extension)
The large amphibians breed “year-round in standing water, streams, canals and ditches,” according to the Florida Wildlife Extension website. As temperatures rise and the rainfall increases, pets are more likely to come into contact with them.
“If you suspect toad poisoning, get a hose and run water in the side of the dog's/cat's mouth, pointing the animal's head downward so water isn't swallowed. Rub the gums and mouth to remove the toxin. This treatment is usually successful, but call your veterinarian immediately,” the website advises.
The toad is not native to Florida or anywhere else in the United States.
It was originally introduced to sugar cane fields to rid crops of white grubs. The population exploded after about 100 toads were accidentally released at the Miami airport in 1955 while being imported by a pet dealer.
The toads survive by eating other types of frogs and toads that are native to Florida and they eat a variety of food — including pet food.