GIANT POISNOUS FROGS
The Giant Bufo Marinus Toad is the largest of the frogs and toads found in Florida. The giant toad is not native to the United States. Known scientifically as Bufo Marinus, the Cane Toad, Giant Toad, or Marine Toad is native to an area extending from Mexico and Central America to the Amazon Basin and was introduced to Florida in 1966 in an attempt to control the population of a type of beetle that was ravaging the sugar cane crops. The toads ignored the cane beetles, but began ravaging everything else in sight instead. They have immense appetites, breed by the zillions, and secrete poisonous gunk that makes them unpalatable to all but a tiny handful of native animals and poisonous to many.
Giant Toads range in size from 4 - 6 in. (10 - 15.2 cm). Females can weigh up to 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg). Giant Toads are huge brown toads that vary in color between brown and red and may have darker and lighter spots. These Giant Toads breed from June to January, but Giant Toads have been found in breeding condition throughout the year. Females produce 8,000 to 50,000 eggs in a clutch and can breed at least twice a year for 5 years in the wild. Giant Toads normally lay eggs in slow moving freshwater streams, but they can also breed in brackish water. Tadpoles hatch in 48 to 72 hours. Depending on the water temperature and food availability, they can complete their development in 16 to 180 days. Giant Toads can live for at least 15 years in captivity. The Giant Toad calls are a slow, low-pitched trill that has been compared to the sound of exhaust noise from a distant tractor. The largest males tend to have the deepest voices.
The Giant Toads are an exotic species that will eat all types of native frogs and toads. This species is skilled at locating all types of food. They have even been known to eat pet food.
When this Giant Toad is threatened or handled, it secretes a highly toxic milky substance from its large glandsat the back of its head, behind the ears. This secretion can burn your eyes, may irritate your skin, and can kill cats and dogs if they ingest the secretion. Symptoms of Giant Toad poisoning in pets include drooling, head-shaking, crying, loss of coordination, and, in more serious cases, convulsions.
In Florida, Giant Toads can be found associated with urban and agricultural areas. This species breeds in canals, flooded ditches, shallow pools and fish ponds. At night, Giant Toads have been known to congregate around house lights to feed on insects.