According to headlines in our local paper, the town south of us is being invaded by a poisonous toad.
What? We already have escaped pythons and boa constrictors in the Everglades, along with the ubiquitous fire ants, deadly killer bees, and occasional armadilloes and coyotes. So now we must look out for dangerous toads, too?
Reading further, I found a description likening it to our native Southern toad. But our innocuous toad has ridges and knobs on its head while this pretender is smooth-headed. The Southern toad is also much smaller than the cane toad (also known as a marine toad or giant toad) which can grow up to NINE inches! The poisonous toad is known to eat pet food and drink pet water left outside, leading to attacks by territorial pets.
Descriptions were given of both toads to help identifying them (like I can remember which is which if I'm actually confronted by one!). The article also had detailed instructions for tending to pets biting the toad, which included rinsing the mouth and gums off with water, holding the pet's head downwards to keep it from swallowing the tainted water, and rubbing the gums...Hmmm. I can't quite imagine Fido's reaction to having his mouth doctored, but maybe some dogs are better behaved than mine ever were.
Anyway, after reading the whole scary thing, it turns out the toads were deliberately brought into south Florida to control insects, and the farthest north they're usually found is Gainesville, Florida. Quite a long ways from us. Speculation is that someone had this lone cane toad as a pet and released it. Or it escaped its owner. Or that it hid on board a landscaping truck coming in from Florida.
But, buried in all the text was this ominous tidbit: One female toad can lay thousands of eggs at a time. And the article failed to tell us the sex of this toad found in the next county.
I think Donald Trump needs to hear about this dangerous immigrant.