Heavy rain has led to localized flooding in parts of South Florida, but overall increased water levels have emboldened poisonous snakes and toads to spread throughout neighborhoods.
Some residents in Broward County are concerned about the presence of snakes, primarily water moccasins. Anticipating being approached by such snakes, residents are arming themselves with gardening tools, rakes and, at times, firearms.
“It’s every day when I come out I am always nervous because I get surprised, and then you don’t even notice them because they are in the grass and the way that they lay you can’t see them," Marta Foster said. "That’s why I wear my boot because literally, you don’t see them until you are on top of them.”
Toads, such as the invasive bufo or cane toad, are also a risk to pets.
“The toad gets panicky and secretes this white gummy material, kind of behind the ear, but the problem is this material is very compelling to dogs and it’s poison," Dr. Ian Kupkee, a veterinarian at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic, said. “If your dog comes back acting like they tasted something awful, licking their lips and spitting and wide eyes ... they got a toad."
Pets who have come into contact with the toads will have dilated eyes and – unless given medical attention – will go through seizures and hypothermia until death, according to Kupkee.
Kupkee suggests to rinse out the pet's mouth. If using a hose, to aim the hose sideways to prevent the pet from ingesting the poison. He recommends using a face cloth or small towel and soaking it to get the gummy material out.
Even if you think you've removed all the poisonous material, seek veterinary assistance for your pet.