Leo and the Critters of Florida

Living in South Florida has its perks when it comes to having a dog. One of the biggest ones is not having to take Leo out during a blizzard.  However, with warm weather, you get some animals that can be super dangerous for dogs.  We are relatively new to Florida (moved from Chicago 1.5 years ago) so the only danger to Leo I was aware of were alligators. Fortunately, I have yet to see an alligator in any of the areas where I walk Leo.

Since living here, I’ve come to learn that iguanas are not very friendly. In fact, they can be pretty vicious. Leo begs to differ though. Every time we pass one on our walks, Leo likes to take off (to the end of the leash) either to play with the iguana or chase it. Almost every time this happens, the iguana takes off as well towards a tree or into the water. There was one time when we were coming up on an iguana during a jog that didn’t move. Usually they run away well before we get close. This time we got within 15 feet of it and the iguana didn’t move. Leo was excited, of course. I was terrified and veered off course. The iguana didn’t move until Erich caught up with me. It was pretty scary since the iguana was the size of a very large cat. Leo isn’t happy about it, but I try to keep my distance from iguanas as much as possible.

Most recently, I’ve discovered a critter that scares me more than alligators and iguanas combined. It’s the bufo toad (also known as the cane toad). I don’t usually walk Leo at night. Erich is the one who takes Leo out before bedtime. However, the past few times we’ve gone together for a small walk and I’ve noticed a lot of what I thought were frogs. After looking them up, I learned they were cane toads and could easily kill Leo if he got his mouth around one of them. Luckily, Leo only likes to chase them if they are moving, and if they are still he almost doesn’t even see them. Now when we go out in the dark, we turn on flashlights because we don’t want to take that risk.

Not many people have to worry about Cane toads because they are only found in Florida, Texas, and Hawaii. For more information about Cane toads, read this article.

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  1. Just remember, if he does catch a bufo, rinse his mouth out with a hose sideways so the toxin doesn’t go down his throat. He may or may not have foam coming from his mouth if he catches one. He’s pretty big so a good rinsing out should work. & if you’re concerned the rinse wasnt enough, take him to the vet or emergency clinic – no need to take a chance.

    Yes, it takes two people, one to hold the unhappy, squiggly dog with his mouth open & one to hold the hose. Its not fun…

    Fortunately it usually only takes one miserable encounter & most dogs learn. I had one who didnt so we had to stop letting him out in the yard by himself. He hated the hosing so much he would hide behind our shed no matter how much he foamed at the mouth…lololol

    I have many iguana stories…😉

    Welcome to South Florida! ….🤣🤣🤣

  2. funny you should mention abt the frogs. one of my friend’s dog just got hold of a frog, here in nc and it was foaming at the mouth. they took him to the vet to get his mouth cleaned and make sure nothing was wrong. frogs, birds, bugs, you really have to be so careful because our 4 legged kids will eat almost anything. my girls have caught mice, tried to catch toads, moles/voles and i run to pull it out of their mouths. my dog breeder is in south Florida around Pompano Beach area. i want to move to Ocala, good dog and horse country. i have read so many horror stories of dogs, cats being eaten by alligators, i dont like any reptiles, even black snakes. i have read abt alligators getting over fences and getting the pet. boy you went from cold to hot in moving. be careful.

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