Toad in my Freezer

Florida, like other tropical environments has some peculiar wildlife, both native and introduced. The introduced kind seems to cause the most problems. The photo is of a Cane Toad, or Bufo Toad. The one I found in my driveway is currently residing in my freezer.

I am not necessarily fond of amphibians in my freezer or the unnecessary demise of wildlife. I had been warned about these toads, called Giant Killer Toads in the media, but had not seen one in my yard until recently. This is a toad that can literally kill your dog or cat. They were introduced to Florida to eat sugar cane pests. I have read they came from Puerto Rico or Australia.

The toads have large poison filled glands on either side that they shoot when disturbed. It is highly toxic to pets causing seizures and heart problems and eventually death if not treated.

A toad hopped into my Living Room the other night after my husband went out the side door. One of my greyhounds was sitting there looking at it when it dawned on me what it might be. I threw it out in the yard and went online to find a picture to identify it.

Sure enough, it was a Bufo Toad. My husband had gone to sleep so I was running around in my driveway (in my bathrobe) trying to capture the toad with a plastic tub. I managed to get the tub over him and decided to read up on the toads until morning. The following morning the toad was gone.

photo by Bill Waller, from Wikimedia Commons

photo by Bill Waller, from Wikimedia Commons

Having seen the interest my dog had in the toad I decided the best course was to get rid of it if I ever saw it again. After researching the most humane way to achieve this (chilling the toad until it falls asleep, then freezing it for at least two days because they can reanimate?!) And people imported these things voluntarily.

Last night we came home after dark and there was the toad sitting in the driveway. My husband picked it up, got sprayed with the venom (wearing gloves) and put it in a bucket. I chilled the bucket and left it alone for a couple of hours to find that the toad had indeed gone to sleep. Then I triple bagged it and stowed it in the freezer.

That is how I came to have a toad in my freezer.

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4 comments on “Toad in my Freezer

  1. mattb325 says:

    Oh god. I am so sorry to hear that Cane Toads are in Florida. They were introduced into tropical Australia almost a century ago via Hawaii (this toad is endemic to tropical S America) to try and control a sugar cane beetle. It had utterly disastrous consequences and it spread, unchallenged by any predators, across the top 2/3 of the continent. In Northern Queensland at night the ground is so thick with them that it is impossible not squish hundreds of them in your car.
    I cannot believe someone actually brought them into Florida? You are right to leave them in the freezer for a couple of days. They are unlikely to kill a person (their venom will cause a burning sensation) but cats and dogs tend to try and put them in their mouths, which is why they are killed.

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    • Hmm, Australia is often blamed for these toads. I think Big Ag/ Sugar growers are more likely the culprits regardless of where the toads originated.
      I foolishly thought I was too high (nowhere near canals, ditches,etc.)
      I have a bad feeling what really happened to my old girl greyhound was one of these toads. She would have been right there sniffing it first.
      I hate to kill any living creature, that said, poisonous things must be dealt with. So far, all snakes have been good. Fingers crossed. I guess I will have to watch the amphibians.

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  2. Chloris says:

    Wow, what a story. You really drew your readers in with a title like that. I thought toad was going to be on the menu at first.
    The Latin name for our common toads here is Bufo bufo. Why the tautology mystifies me. In the same way, the dear little wren is called Troglodytes troglodytes. But back to your toad, surely Bufo toad is a tautology too, as all toads are Bufo. Whatever its name it sounds terrifying. A giant poison squirting toad sounds like something out of a horror movie.

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    • That is curious, Bufo is the latin word for toad. This one is Bufo marinus, and it is commonly referred to as the Bufo Toad.
      Definitely not on the menu on my house but some people dry the venom and smoke it somehow, supposed to be like acid. My opinion, if you are smoking toad venom you have been in the swamp way too long.

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