FPL | Great Toad

Great Toad

Origin: Northern South America, Central America, and Mexico

Impacts: The great toad, or cane toad, is considered the most introduced amphibian in the world.

B. marinus is able to reproduce nearly year round. It was originally introduced in an attempt to control insects such as the greybacked cane beetle, Lepidoderma albohirtum, which threatened sugar cane production. However, there is no evidence that it has controlled any pest in Florida or Australia, where it was also introduced to control insects. It is now considered a pest species itself in Australia and the Pacific and Caribbean Islands.

The current population in Florida, thought to inhabit 6-10 counties, threatens native species. The great toad preys on small invertebrates and will even scavenge in urban areas.

It out-competes native amphibians for food and breeding habitat and also causes predator declines, since these predators have no natural immunity to the bufotoxin it secretes. Cats, dogs, native mammals, snakes, and birds are all at risk. Humans may suffer skin rashes or eye irritation when contact is made with the toad's skin.

The extensive canal system in Florida plays a major role in the spread of this invasive species.


Bufo marinus

Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey