Florida pet owners warned of deadly toad

The cane toad, also called the bufo toad or marine toad, is huge.  It's also potentially deadly for pets and even toxic for their owners. 

The toads are from South America. They started showing up in South Florida a few years ago.  Florida Fish and Wildlife has tracked the toad spottings, and they continue to push north in Central Florida. Recently, one of the toads was spotted in this Maitland neighborhood. 

"In identifying cane toads versus the native toads, cane toads get very large. So, basically a frog that's over four inches is most likely an invasive cane toad," explains Stephanie Kettle, a spokesperson for the Central Florida Zoo.

The zoo has a cane toad named Carl. Carl was discovered in a Longwood neighborhood in 2010 and is now an educational tool for the zoo staff to teach people what to look out for if they are pet owners.

"The skin-gland secretions of cane toads are highly toxic and can sicken or even kill animals that bite or feed on them, including native animals and domestic pets. The skin secretions may irritate the skin or burn the eyes of people who handle them," the FWC warns.  

Cane toads are omnivores that will eat insects, vegetation, small birds, other toads or frogs, lizards, small mammals, and snakes. If available, cane toads have been known to be attracted to and eat human table scraps and pet food. 

Cane toads are reddish-brown to grayish-brown, with or without a pattern, and a light yellow belly.  They can range from six to nine inches in length.