Pictures: Thousands of toxic toads flood Palm Beach

Posted by Aimee Pace on 28 March 2019

Residents of South Florida, Palm Beach are fearing for the safety of their pets as their homes are stormed by swarms of tiny poisonous bufo toads. What began as a few locals noticing small gatherings of toads in their pools has turned into a full-on invasion this week, with the amphibious creatures making themselves at home by the thousands in swimming pools, yards, sideways, driveways, and houses around the neighbourhood.

Bufo toads, also called cane toads, are an invasive species that has taken over the comfortable environment of southern Florida. They were originally introduced to the area in the 1930s in an effort to control beetles that were damaging the sugarcane crops at the time. In 1955, a local pet store also accidentally released 100 of them in Miami according to the University of Florida. As the toads have made themselves more at home over the years their numbers have grown exponentially, leading to situations in which locals head out at night to catch toads that have overrun their homes.

Locals believe the toads are coming from a nearby undisturbed lake where the species flourishes due to there being no predators.

Cane or bufo toads are particularly dangerous because of their ability to shoot poison from their backs as a defense mechanism. Young toads don’t carry enough toxin to be deadly, but adult ones can easily send dogs into seizures or even kill them.

The toxins are known to stick around into the mouth of an animal that has attempted to eat the toad, and Palm Beach residents are being advised to wipe or rinse the mouths of animals affected immediately and take them to the vet. Animals affected by these dangerous little hoppers will almost immediately exhibit signs of hyperactivity and salivation, followed by vomiting, bright red gums and seizures.

Toads collected by professionals in the area are humanely euthanized according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines with a benzocaine spray and then put in a freezer, as it is illegal to place them back in the wild.

Image: Twitter

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