Killer Toad Invasion

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 2:55pm

Huge poisonous toads have Florida pet owners on edge.

Poisonous toads are popping up in Southwest Florida.

Experts say they can easily kill pets.

Bonita Springs resident Jennifer Semro says she comes across plenty of creatures in her own backyard, but when her 5-year-old dog Katrina sniffed her way to a Bufo toad, Semro took action.

"What I thought was a frog and he was probably about this big around which made me a little nervous right away so I brought her in the house immediately," she said.

Semro snapped some photos of the toad and brought them to her vet.

Sure enough, little Katrina was lucky to be alive.

"They cause salivation and redness of the mouth and they get sick right away. They throw up," said veterinarian Dr. Richard Carpenter.

Dr. Carpenter says the poison can kill a small animal in as little as 15 minutes.

While they're poisonous to humans, they are not fatal.

Experts say if a person comes in contact with one of the toads, they should just make sure to wash the secretion off of their skin.

"It's an ugly looking toad, it's brown and it's got like these pockets on its back," Semro said.

Semro isn't alone.

Others in her Bonita Springs neighborhood have noticed the toads too.

"It was probably eight to nine-inches tall, just sitting there," said Bonita homeowner Bill Tobler.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission say worried pet owners should kill them.

Some vets say the best way to do that is to freeze them.

The toads are an invasive species, which means releasing the toads back into the wild is illegal.

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