Monday, June 22, 2009
  M-F'ing cane toads
So the house across the street is abandoned and has a nice green pool out back chock-full of tadpoles. Since I am eternally five years old when it comes to animals, I normally would relish this fact. ONLY, they are most likely CANE TOAD tadpoles.

Stacey vs. the tadpoles
Looks like a little puffer fish to me!

Cane toads are invasive here, Hawaii, and are a huge problem in Australia too. Probably other places as well. When I was researching this, I found lots of stuff going on in Australia about the cane toads. There are entire organizations devoted to going out and finding these toads... and killing them! Geniuses introduced them on purpose back in the 1950s to control sugar cane pests (unsuccessfully) and now we have these buggers everywhere. They're WAY bigger'n our native toads, compete with the native toads and their tadpoles, and on top of that they are TOXIC. From what I understand, the tadpoles can be toxic to the fish, and the adult toads are toxic to anything that may think of the toad as a meal. Big dogs apparently get high if they come in contact with the nasty stuff they secrete, but smaller animals can die. We had our own cane toad scare with Gretchen a year or so ago, when Patty was walking her outside her house in Boca Raton. Gretchen found a toad, grabbed it, then was frothing at the mouth. Very scary. Thankfully she acted quickly, hosing her mouth out, and followed up by taking her to the ER vet.

We have never had a problem with them here in the eastern part of Broward. When I lived out west I saw them all the time, but NEVER did I see them here until a few months ago. Then I found one on the tort enclosure, then another one... And now these tadpoles.. and toadlings!

Not only are there tadpoles, but there are froglings. Erh, toadlings.

I have made peace with the latest tortoise enclosure inhabitant (the dogs can't get her as long as she stays in front), but I euthanized the one I found in our back yard last night. The same way I euthanized the toad I found a few months ago that had no legs - with benzocaine. Just rub some on their backs and it knocks 'em out and kills them. When I found him dead, I felt completely awful. I'm used to helping, not killing, you know? They are bad for everything in Florida, bad for our pets... blech... So anyway, all these tadpoles and toadlings I caught are now living in a man-made pond at the corporate park where I used to work. No wildlife to compete with there, the place already HAS bufos, and there are no houses nearby so no pets can be harmed. There are THOUSANDS of other tadpoles in the pool still, however, and I am very troubled about this. I am getting the tadpoles ID'd so I can be certain, but if they are bufo marinus, I may have to take some drastic action. Sigh. As for the adults, I'll relocate them too, but that really just makes it another area's problem. Why oh why can't I just be heartless?

They're awfully cute for being so awful, right?

Little toad, you are too precious to hate!

Leetle tiny toad.

Also, I know that it's really sad that this is the only drama I have in my life. Or possibly that makes me very lucky? :)
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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