Marine Toad

Scientific Name: Bufo marinus

The range of the marine toad is from northern South America through Central America, and has been introduced to other areas including Hawaii, Florida, and Australia. These toads can grow up to ten inches in width and can live 20-25 years. They are versatile and will eat almost any vertebrate and invertebrate that they can swallow. Their adaptability and voracious appetite makes them one of the world’s most invasive species. As a defense, they can secrete an extremely toxic substance from glands located behind the ears called parotid glands, making them unpalatable to predators. If a predator such as a dog bites the toad, the toad secretes the toxin killing the dog within a short period of time.

Also known as the Cane Toad or the Giant Toad, these amphibians were released in Miami in 1955 to combat cane beetles in sugar cane fields. However, the toads did not serve their intended purpose, and instead dispersed in search of other food.

They reproduce year-round, with the female laying her eggs in drainage canals, ditches, fish ponds or temporary pools. Each female can lay 20,000 eggs per season, which hatch in three days, and metamorphose in 45-55 days.

The only known amphibians known to eat plant matter and carrion as adults, the marine toads are also unique in the fact that they will eat stationary food. In all other adult amphibians the action of hunting is triggered by the prey’s movement.