Cane Toads can be deadly

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Cane Toads (Bufo marinus)

Cane toads are native to South America, Central American, and extreme southern United States.

The cane toad excretes a toxin in its sweat that is poisonous to some pets, especially dogs. So if a dog licked a cane toad, it could ingest enough of the toxin to cause profuse salivation, shaking, vomiting and even death. It can also kill domestic dogs within 15 minutes to eat a toad.



If your pet mouths a cane toad, it is vital that you remove all trace of the poison from its teeth and gums.
Flush your pet’s mouth and face with lots of running water. Using a jet of water from a hose is an effective way of doing this. The water jet should be directed forward out of your pet’s mouth, not down into its throat. Tilt the animal’s head down so that you do not cause your pet to choke. Wash its eyes as well.
See your veterinarian urgently


Cane toads exhibit typical true toad appearance, with dry, warty skin and relatively short legs; unlike frogs, which generally leap, toads typically hop. Adult cane toads are brown or grayish-brown dorsally with occasional whitish spots. Ventral coloration is yellowish, usually flecked with black. The back and legs are covered with spiny warts. Tadpoles are black dorsally and silvery-white with black spots ventrally.

How to recognize a Cane Toad:

  • Short, squat body with relatively short legs
  • Dry, warty skin
  • Large, deeply pitted  glands extend down the sides of body
  • Largest toad, sometimes exceeding 6″ snout-to-vent length

Cane Toad Behavior:

  • Largely nocturnal, but potentially active any time of day
  • Terrestrial as adults, aquatic as larvae (tadpoles)
  • Hop and walk
  • Adults are predators; tadpoles are omnivorous
  • Males vocalize to attract females when breeding; call is a slow, low-pitched trill
  • Becomes inactive during cool or dry weather

Cane Toad Life Cycle:

Cane toad life cycles include an aquatic larval stage and a terrestrial adult stage.

  • Larvae: Aquatic, gilled tadpoles
  • Adults: After 45-60 days, tadpoles metamorphose into terrestrial juveniles. Sexual maturity is reached after one year

Cane Toad Reproduction:

  • Reproduction occurs in temporary water bodies between early spring and autumn, usually following rains
  • Males attract females by calling (a slow, low-pitched trill)
  • Mating occurs in water; males clasp females and hold them in amphiplexus
  • Females release two strings of eggs while in amphiplexus; fertilization is external; eggs are surrounded by a gelatinous sheath that floats or wraps around vegetation
  • Eggs are tolerant of low to moderate salinities
  • Egg production ranges between 10,000 and 32,000 per female per season
  • Eggs hatch in three days

Cane Toad Preferred Environment:

  • Forests with temporary or permanent standing water. Cane toads are limited to tropical and subtropical climates, with relatively high humidity and moderate temperature.
  • Successful in disturbed areas where introduced, including around buildings and in yards

Cane Toad Diet:

  • Cane toads are voracious predators, feeding on invertebrates, other toads, frogs, lizards, snakes, small birds, and small rodents.
  • Reported to eat dog and cat food set out for pets.
  • Tadpoles feed on algae and aquatic plants, and filter organic material from the water; large tadpoles reportedly cannibalize their own species’ eggs.

This is a brochure distributed in Australia about Cane Toads

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