May 27, 2007

Hello, Prince Charming

Bufo marinus toad, La Ceiba, HondurasFat toad, La Ceiba

(Updated below)
Our front porch is the favorite hang out for six dogs, occasionally two chickens, and now, this not-so-handsome guy (or girl?).

Why this toad would want to take his afternoon siesta among all the ruckus of the dogs is anyone's guess, but he/she seemed intent upon staying. Even after I brought the dogs inside, he hung around instead of making his escape while the coast was clear.

Man, this guy is sooo fat that he looks like he's going to explode. He must be finding some good eats.

Ooooh! I just remembered − We had to move Chloe's food to the front porch because the fire ants kept getting into it on the terraza. I'll bet this toad is eating dog food. I've been complaining that I have to fill Chloe's bowl twice a day now. I thought it was the puppies, but now I wonder....

Bufo marinus toad, La Ceiba, HondurasIs there such a thing as a balloon toad?

Update May 28, 2007:

I received this email from Patty:

I don't want to alarm you, but that looks like a bufo toad. We have them in Florida. The good news is, he eats mosquitoes and is generally harmless to humans, unless you touch him and put your hands to your mouth. The bad news is, he exudes a very poisonous substance through his skin, which is not harmful to touch, but if Chloe or the puppies pick him up in their mouths, it could be disastrous. If the dogs pick him up, you will have to hold their mouths open and flush with a strong stream of water. Then take them to the vet. My dog went into convulsions after picking one up. Humans have hallucinations after absorbing the substance through the skin or ingesting it.

So I tried to do some research, but none of the photos show toads as fat as this one so I just wasn't sure. I wrote to Andrew Tillson-Willis, a toad expert in the UK. He immediately identified both this one and the one I posted a few months ago as Bufo marinus (Cane toad), a poisonous toad.

They certainly are Bufo marinus, here's a picture of the one I keep which was imported from Honduras:

Many thanks,

Great. I read in this article, Danger - Giant Toads, that they are extremely dangerous to dogs. Now what? I don't know where the toad is now. How do I keep six dogs away from this toad?

By the way, if you are interested in toads, or just want to see some great photos of toads, check out Andrew's site, Pollywog. He even has a toad forum.

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