PET OWNERS BEWARE: Colorado River Toad

PET OWNERS BEWARE: Colorado River Toad

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Colorado River Toad, a monsoon mainstay in southern Arizona, is toxic and can kill a dog just as easily as a rattlesnake.

Also known as the Sonora River Toad, it's the largest toad in the United States.

What makes the amphibian dangerous isn't its bite, but the glands behind its eyes.

Those glands secrete a white poison that spreads in the mouth of would-be predators, including curious dogs.

The only good news is the toads are not a serious threat to humans.

The toad spends most of its lifetime -- up to 20 years -- underground.

It sits there, waiting for the monsoon storms to blow through the desert.

Stephane Poulin, a herpetologist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has offered toad tips for you and your pets.

• Turn off your patio lights as they can attract bugs, which in turn attract toads.

• Remove any water dishes, which can attract toads.

• Keep your pets away from the areas where you see, or more likely hear, the toads.

• Avoid areas where the toads are found, like washes, puddles of water.

• Watch your pets for unusual behavior. Symptoms to look for include disorientation, excessive saliva, throat swelling and seizures.

• If you come into contact with a toad, wash your hands thoroughly before handling anything or touching your face.

•  In your pet does come into contact with a toad, you can save its life with some quick action. First, flush the animal's mouth out with water as soon as possible. Consult a veterinarian.

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