Rains draw out gangs of dog-killing cane toads

Miami, Fla. — Move over murder hornets!

Giant, lethal cane toads are back in South Florida.

The good news is they are harmless to humans, the bad news is the large triangular glands behind the toads eyes contain a high load of a milky-white toxin that can kill dogs.

The other thing we have to mention is the toads are not unique to 2020.

The 4-6 inch yellowish brown toad is considered an invasive species and was brought to Florida as a form of pest control between the 1930s and 1950s.

They appear every summer to bread when heavy rains stir them up from their burrows.

"We have dozens out on the street at night. They are not even scared of people anymore, it's like there are gangs of them out this year," Elizabeth Bonilla , who lives near a canal in Homestead, told the Miami Herald.

If a dog bites or licks one it can suffer convulsions, loss of coordination and cardiac arrest.

Get your dog to the vet ASAP if it shows symptoms such as excessive drooling, red gums, vomiting, disorientation, circling, stumbling and falling, and seizures.

You are urged to kill a cane toad if you come across one.

The University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation says you can identify the toad using the following criteria:

Body is tan to reddish-brown, dark brown, or gray; back is marked with dark spots. Skin is warty. Large, triangular parotoid glands are prominent on the shoulders; parotoid glands of native "true" toads are oval. Unlike native Southern Toads, they DO NOT have ridges or "crests" on top of the head.

The experts offer a way to humanely euthanize the toads by  “rubbing or spraying 20% benzocaine toothache gel or sunburn spray (not 5% lidocaine) on the toad's lower belly.”

They say the reptile will become unconscious within minutes -  then to be sure you should put the frog in a sealed plastic bag it in the freezer for 24-48 hours.

Ugh! Not the most inviting thing to place next to the ice cream.

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