Bufo toads pose threat to pets in Lakeland

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They seem to be popping up all over, especially in the Historic Lake Morton District of  Lakeland. This is breeding season for Bufo toads so their population is booming. 
 
That's a potential problem if you have a pet. If your dog or cat gets a hold of one, the poison that the Bufo secretes from the glands on its back can be deadly.
 
"Small children can be at risk as well," said Lisa Ricigliano, who owns L and R Wildlife Service in Lakeland, which removes nuisance wildlife.
 
Bufos are not native. They were introduced to the U.S. in the late 1930's. Scientists from the University of Florida got about 200 from Puerto Rico and released them in the sugar cane fields in South Florida to control the pest population. Bufos eat bugs. 
 
They were highly successful breeders and adapted quickly to Florida's hot, wet climate. Eventually, they migrated across the state and are now found all over the Tampa Bay area.
 
If your pet comes in contact with a Bufo, you need to act immediately. Wash out your pet's mouth with a cloth that supersaturated with water. Don't use a hose, because the pressure can push the poison down your pets throat. Then get to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
 
If you waste time or ignore the situation, chances are that your pet will start foaming at the mouth, have convulsions, become paralyzed, and die.
 
You should never pick up a Bufo without wearing gloves. The poison can irritate your skin.
 
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says the most humane way to get rid of a Bufo is by putting it in a plastic bag, and putting the bag in your freezer for three days. If that's not your thing, you may want to call a wildlife service to catch and dispose of Bufos.
 
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