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SKIP CANE-TOAD SNACKS

Dear Fisher,

Recently I went out first thing in the morning and discovered what a cane toad is. I thought I was in heaven until I bit down on one. I started foaming at the mouth and became very sick. Thank goodness my daddy took quick action and rinsed my mouth out with the sink sprayer five times and sought medical help. These poisonous toads are everywhere in my back yard and I can't resist. Please tell everyone about the dangers of these cane toads, and encourage them read up on this danger. Thank you.

Roscoe

I am certainly happy to hear your daddy is so on-the-ball when it comes to your safety. He deserves a huge pat on the back, and you, Roscoe, deserve a vigorous tummy rub for wanting to share this information with your fellow critters.

First order of business is to learn where these creatures hang out. They are found anywhere in a wide span of territory, from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas south to the Central Amazon and southeastern Peru. They're also in the Caribbean Islands, Australia, and Hawaii. But the scariest for my neighbors is right here in South Florida (Key West and Stock islands, Tampa Bay, Hillsborough, Dade and Broward counties).

Cane toads definitely like the tropics, with heavy foliage and access to water. But hanging out in the tropics is no holiday, as they are always prepared to fight off predators. Their first defense is to secrete a white thick syrupy fluid from their glands. Any predator who ingests any of the toxins or has contact with the mucous membranes can expect the following results: profuse salivation, vomiting, twitching, weakness in hind limbs and shallow breathing. If that doesn't scare you guys out there, temporary paralysis and death are also in the offing.

- Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to askfisher@gmail.com or visit ask-fisher.com.

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