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FWC reminds pet owners of ‘very poisonous’ bufo toads

TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to remind pet owners to keep a lookout for the toxic bufo toad, which can kill your pet in as little as 15 minutes. Also known as cane toads, the invasive species secrete a milky-white toxin, known as bufotoxin, from glands on the back of their heads. FWC says the toads are “very poisonous.” This interactive map from The University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health shows where the toads are being reported. FWC encourages homeowners to kill the toads if found on their property. According to FWC, the toads are native to the Amazon basin in South America and north to the lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. FWC says they were introduced into Florida in the 1930s and 40s to control pests in sugar cane. “Before humanely killing a toad, always make sure that you have correctly identified it as a cane toad,” FWC said on Facebook. “Native toad species are an important part of the ecosystem and are not harmful to people or pets so please be careful not to harm them.” How to spot themReddish-brown to grayish-brown in colorLight-yellow or beige bellyEnlarged glands behind the eyes that angle down to the shoulders6 to 9 inches in lengthDo not have ridges across the head, that’s a southern toadWhat to do if your pet bites or swallows a bufo toadSymptoms may include: Frantic or disoriented behavior Brick red gumsSeizuresFoaming at the mouthWhat to do: Wash toxins forward out of mouth using a hose for ten minutes being careful not to direct water down the throatWipe gums/tongue with dish towel to remove toxinsGet your pet to the vet!What to do if you come into contact with oneWash your hands thoroughly Wear gloves when handling How to keep them off your propertyRemove places where cane toads or their prey can hide or seek shelter:Cut your grass regularly and keep it shortFill in any holes around structuresTrim the underside of shrubsKeep branches or riprap off the groundClear away brush pilesRemove clutterRemove food that can attract cane toads and their prey:Feed pets indoors when possibleBring outdoor pet food and water bowls indoors at nightClean up any food scraps from pet bowls or outside tables and grills FWC Flyer Cane Toads and Pets by wftsweb on ScribdGet more information on the bufo toad from FWC by clicking here.

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