Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Florida is currently clogged with these giant poisonous toads

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 4:33 PM

Cane toads, a poisonous invasive species that was once the scourge of Australia, are now the scourge of Florida.

Sightings of the toads are statewide and have occurred in Tampa, Orlando and even as far as the Panhandle, but right now South Florida is straight-up plagued. The Palm Beach Gardens community is currently dealing with thousands of cane toads "clogging people's pools, patios, and even spread out all over the street," says WPTV.

"I just see a massive amount of toads or frogs everywhere, covering every square inch," said resident Jennie Quasha to the station. "You can't even walk through the grass without stepping on one."

Our war with these big-ass toads is nothing new. For decades, the cane toads have been a major issue for residents of Florida, mostly because they secrete a poisonous, milky ooze that is toxic to humans and pets. These large sacks of slime are actually one the largest toad species in the world, and can grow from 10 inches in length.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the toads are native to the Amazon basin and were first introduced sometime in the 30s or 40s, likely as pets that either escaped or were released into the wild. But since then, things have gotten much worse, and recent heavy rains have only exasperated the problem.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2019_03_22_at_3.35.27_pm.5c953911e9d9f.jpg

"With the warmer winter and then we had a rain two to three weeks ago, a torrential rain, that caused them to go into a breeding cycle," said Mark Holladay, a lead technician with Toad Busters to WPTV. "There will be another influx like this in 22 days when the next batch hatches out, and this is in every community in Florida."

Now, don't get these confused with the native southern toad. Those are the good toads. The differences can be slight, but unlike our buddies, cane toads feature large glands behind their eyes and lack a crest between their eyes.

  • Photo via Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
If you see a cane toad, you're most definitely encouraged to destroy it. According to the University of Florida, the most humane way to euthanize a cane toad is to "rub or spray 20 percent benzocaine toothache gel or sunburn spray (not 5 percent lidocaine) on the toad's lower belly." This will apparently make it become unconscious, which at that point UF says to put it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 24-48 hours. A cold peaceful death. Just be sure to wear gloves.

But if placing a massive poisonous toad next to your Hot Pockets for a two-day "Shining" treatment is not your thing, you can also just call a local trapper.

Either way, spare no invasive toad.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation