— Life —

I DON’T LIKE MY NEIGHBORS

On the Back Wall of My Courtyard You Can See Annie.
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My yard has been invaded by a family called the Bufonidaes. I don’t mean to be unkind, but they’re ugly, with faces only a mother could love. Their skin is dry and leathery, their legs short and fat, and they have large bumps that run up and down both sides of their bodies that look like warts. I get along with all of my neighbors. I’m even on the board of our homeowners’ association, but I draw the line with the Bufonidaes.

Short of going nuclear, I don’t know how to get them to move.

Annie Looking for the Bufonidaes.

The Bufonidae is a species of toads, and they secrete a poisonous substance that defends against predators. In the case of the toads in my yard, the only animal of prey is Annie, my dog. A month ago, Annie captured one of these hideous creatures. As she proudly held fast to the toad, her mouth filled with a never-ending stream of foam that bubbled and ballooned around the toad and down Annie’s chin. The Bufonidae’s eyes bulged out of its head, and its meaty legs and webbed feet hung out of either side of Annie’s mouth and pedaled frantically in mid-air, but my girl just stood there, refusing to let it go.

Until I sprayed her with the garden hose.

Do you see him?

Instinctively, I washed Annie’s mouth and tongue with a wet washcloth and then did an online search for “Texas toads.” One of the references was to “killer poisonous toads” which can be deadly to dogs within fifteen minutes of contact. The online instructions were to wash the inside of the dog’s mouth–I did that–and call the emergency pet center. The ER advised me to continue to wash her mouth out and keep a close eye on her. If she showed any signs of rapid breathing, vomiting, or her gums turned white, I needed to bring her in pronto. Needless to say, I watched her for the rest of the night. Thank goodness, she was fine, but for the next two days, Annie wouldn’t eat. The vet gave her some antibiotics, and for the moment, Annie was all right, but I know my girl. She’s done an outstanding job of obliterating the lizards and squirrels, and the toads will be no different.

Always on the run. On the hunt.

For the next few days, I researched how to get rid of the Bufonidaes. Actually, I’m not sure that’s even the correct species. Neither the vet, my pest control man, the Texas Game Warden who lives next door, nor the Texas Wildlife Department had any suggestions for how to get rid of them. An officer at the Wildlife Department did, however, caution me: “If they’re an endangered species, you could be arrested for harming them.”

Great! They might kill my darling Annie, but I can’t retaliate? Watch me!

Other than taking Annie outside on a leash, where we both kept an eagle eye out for toads, I stopped watering my yard. The only thing I could correlate was the Bufonidaes were coming to my house because, during our 100+ degree daily heatwave, I’ve been watering the oak tree in the front yard and the plants in my courtyard. Better my plants die than my Annie. So like a big game hunter, of sorts, I armed myself with a flashlight and a mason jar and spent the next week watching and waiting in the Creeping Jasmine until my efforts were rewarded. 

I captured one of the repulsive creatures and then drove him to a neighboring community that has a stream. I stopped the car and opened the lid and wished him ‘good luck.’ Now to find the rest of his family! Goodness knows I don’t want him to be alone. 🤣

Please, I could use your help. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to get rid of toads?


32 Comments

  • Reply Laura Barnett August 6, 2022 at 7:48 am

    Oh Brenda! This could have had a very tragic ending, but you paint such a great picture that it sounds hilarious! I can see this creepy toad in Annie’s mouth and theyve both got the toad’s poison on them and yet Annie’s proud of her catch. I wish I knew what to tell you about getting rid of them but I can only wish you good luck.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 1:57 pm

      I get it, Laura. On one hand it’s a potential life and death situation, but there is some humor to the frog in Annie’s mouth. I wish someone could have taken a picture of them, but I was focused on getting her to drop the toad. Looking for toads is still a daily thing for both of us. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Barbara Bergin August 6, 2022 at 8:00 am

    I’m no frog expert, but it’s possible that not only are they NOT endangered, they could be an invasive, non-indigenous species, in which case, releasing them would not be necessary, and killing them would be beneficial to the environment. There are lots of frogs like this. Like the kudzu plant of the eastern part of the US, they don’t belong. Maybe see if someone can truly ID one, so you can know…friend or foe. I wish he were a horned toad. Other than catch-and-release, or catch-and-kill, there’s likely no other way to rid yourself of them! You are smart to stop watering. That’s what they’re looking for! Fascinating and weirdly scary post. The stuff of nightmares!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:01 pm

      Barbara, I love your response! Makes me feel better although other than letting the toad run out of oxygen in the mason jar, I’m not the one to kill it. Some crazy person who’s coming after me? Yes, in a heartbeat, but not the toad. I need to find someone who can identify the species. In the Texas Hill Country, we think nothing about hiring someone to kill the monster-sized wild hogs on our ranch. It’s occurred to me I call a guy I know, named Dog, to come here and set up shop to look for toads. Dog is a story unto himself! Thanks, Barbara! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Pam August 6, 2022 at 8:25 am

    You’re a brave woman! Those things give me the creeps! They’re prehistoric looking and there’s no way I would have waited in the bushes to catch one!! Eeeuuu! I’m glad Annie’s alright.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      Pam, I agree with you. They’re pretty creepy! I read online that you can temporarily blind them with a flashlight, which makes it easier to catch them, so that’s what I did, but I kept thinking I would be horrified if he jumped up in my face. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Pat August 6, 2022 at 8:32 am

    If I we’re faced with an invasion of killer toads I think I would move! Good luck to you Mama Bear! I hope your cub Annie stays safe.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks, Pat. I’ve shot rattlesnakes at the ranch that were threatening my dogs, and didn’t think twice about it. It did give me the creeps to think they’d made a den under the house or in the plant bed around the house. That’s when Mama Bear wants to grab her cubs and head for an iceberg where there’s no chance of creepy crawly things. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Melanie August 6, 2022 at 8:47 am

    We have them down here, as well. (Southeast Florida) They come out at night. I watch my dogs when I let them out so as not to pick one up. I have no idea how to get rid of them. I don’t think you can, because we’ve moved to a couple houses while living down here and have seen them at night at each house. I do know they’re very deadly for dogs as a friends dog died after playing with one . I never knew the name of them to research it, but now I will. Xo. Melanie

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Melanie, I read about the problems with toads in Florida, and I can see why. It’s always wet and there are so many things for them to feed on. Toad paradise. I feel for your friends and their dog. That’s what I’m afraid of. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Richfield August 6, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Until now I’ve never heard of “killer toads.” Thankfully I live in Canada and don’t have to worry about them. Like you I love my dog and would be devastated if something like a toad killed her. God bless Brenda! You and Annie stay safe!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:10 pm

      Richfield, “Killer Toads” sounds like a 1950’s B movie, doesn’t it? Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment. I’m working hard here to keep my girl safe. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Lexie August 6, 2022 at 9:52 am

    Vinegar. It won’t kill the toads but it will keep them way. Only spray around foundation or any where there there are no plants or grass. I use it outside to kill volunteers I don’t want as well and is not toxic to dogs.

    Poor Annie. She is a brave girl.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks, Lexi. Vinegar! Hmmm. I’m thinking it might burn my plants in the brutal heat we’ve had all summer, but then since I’m not watering them, they’re not looking very good anyway. Thanks for the idea. I may try it. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Sally August 6, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Vinegar works like Lexie said and so does good old Borax. Sprinkle at around the edge of your house and garden. It also keeps spiders, scorpions etc from crossing. No harm to plants or dogs. Not 100% but pretty darn good with no poisons. I use both in my area around Big Bend.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:15 pm

      Sally, Borax? Like the old Twenty Mule Team Borax? I don’t even know what it is, but will research it for sure, especially if there’s no harm to my plants or Annie. You’ve got lots of nasty critters around Big Bend. Thank you!!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Rene August 6, 2022 at 11:15 am

    Annie’s your dog alright. Both of you are fearless. I would have freaked out and not known what to do. Have you always been so logical and calm? How can I acquire those qualities?

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      You’re sweet, Rene! Yes, I’ve always been someone you want in your foxhole. I’ve learned that freaking out only makes things worse. The next time you’re faced with a crisis, perhaps you deliberately force yourself to remain calm and think about the first thing you need to do: Get the dog to drop the toad, run from your burning house, give your purse to the guy with the gun, call 911. When we freak out, we lose all common sense, which leaves us vulnerable to the situation. There’s plenty of time to freak out later. I bet you’re calmer than you think you are. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Katherine August 6, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Hi Brenda,
    What a horrid situation you have had to face with these gross looking toads. I can’t even begin to imagine the stress and anxiety these frightening things have caused you.
    So glad that your fur baby Annie is okay, that was a frightening time for you.
    You remain in my thoughts and prayers for a positive outcome.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:26 pm

      Katherine, Thank you! It has been stressful, especially that first night, then the next few days when Annie wouldn’t eat, and fearing every time she went outside she’d find another toad. I only let her out on a leash, but that’s no way for a dog to live, but LIVE is the key word, so I’ll do anything to make sure she’s safe. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Kenda Coffee August 6, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Brenda, At one time we had a problem with backyard snakes making a home under an open space under the storage shed. Sam, my husband, found a product at Lowe’s called “Snake Away”. It is a white powder to shake from the box over the problem area where the snakes entered. It was a fabulous deterrent & was effective immediately. A few years later, feral cats discovered this same spot to birth their litters. I thought, well, if Snake Away works on snakes, maybe it will work on cats — and it does! Mama cat and babies left quickly and found another home. And so ….. perhaps this same product will work for your toads. Sprinkle the white powder liberally in your gardens and problem areas. Good luck!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Kenda! I hope you’re doing well. Snakes are so creepy! This is the only place I’ve lived where I haven’t seen any. Snake Away… Hmmm… Initially, I wonder if it’s harmful to dogs, but I will research that immediately. You’re a love to let me know. Thank you!!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Rose August 6, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    Oh my – thank goodness Annie is alright. Nerve wracking!
    I had to goggle how to get rid of toads and you were definitely right to cut off the water source for them. The store bought repellents work. Also mentioned was salt – coffee grounds.
    I always feel where there is one there are two! Check under some of the ground cover vegetation – they may be keeping sheltered/cool.
    I thought it was bad when we had stink bugs in our house but toads are a different pest to control.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for the research, Rose!! I appreciate you! Definitely, where there’s one, there are sure to be more. Actually, I saw two of them the night I caught the one in the photo, but when I went back, it was gone. Since then I don’t see anything although Annie’s nose tells me something’s been in the courtyard. Stink bugs!!!! Gross!!! No… That’s pretty bad! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Barbarba August 6, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    I can see you know Brenda, stalking the deadly Buffonides in order to protect your darling Annie! But how do you continue to live there? Someone else said they would move. I vote for that option. Take care Brenda! Xo, Barb

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      LOL! Barbara! It’s Texas! There’s something that sticks, stings or bites everywhere, so another house is no guarantee I’ll be pest free! I’m just grateful there aren’t any snakes. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Mark August 6, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    Brenda, try kissing one! Ya never know in this wacky world. However, in lieu of that somewhat repulsive resolution, just give Annie a big ole hug and absolutely revel in the indescribably delicious companionship! Sorry, I’m no help.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:40 pm

      Mark, I’m done kissing frogs and toads! I can spot them a mile away! Thanks for the comment and your support! Brenda

  • Reply eileen chadwick August 6, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    We live in Santa Fe ,nm Use a Have a Heart trap and relocate each and every one of them !!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace August 6, 2022 at 2:42 pm

      Have a Heart Traps! Interesting idea that just might work. Thanks Eileen! Like Texas, you’ve got lots of bad critters in Santa Fe. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Katherine August 6, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m back because I shared your story with my hubby Barry tonight. He asked me if you have a pond? Has your community been dealing with excessive rain?
    I’ve been thinking of you today and hoping it’s been a good day for you and your fur baby Annie.
    Stay safe.
    Sending you warm virtual hugs,
    Katherine

  • Reply Carmen August 6, 2022 at 10:10 pm

    I’m sorry you’ve been going through this Brenda. I know how much you love Annie snd all your dogs and I remember when you tried so hard to find homes for hundreds of Beagles. You have such a good heart. I hope you find the answers to how to get rid of the toads for your sake and Annie’s. Sending you both a hug!

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