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Toxic Invader | by Nick Scobel
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Toxic Invader

A large adult Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) from suburban south Florida. Originally native to Central and South America, cane toads were introduced to Florida in the 1940s as part of an effort to reduce sugar cane pests in the large canefields south of Lake Okeechobee. Since then, cane toads have become firmly established across most of south Florida, failing to control cane pests in the process. The white, milky substance seen being secreted from the parotid glands is bufotoxin, a highly toxic defense mechanism which causes death in most native species which try to eat the toads. Cane toads are a threat to most native wildlife in Florida, though the problem is much worse in Australia, where cane toads have expanded exponentially.

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Taken on March 17, 2016