NASSAU, Bahamas, Monday September 9, 2013 – The Bahamas government has put the country on alert for the cane toad, an invasive species capable of killing small pets and causing severe skin reactions in humans.
Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett said that the toad, discovered in the Lyford Cay area, “may have an introduced invasive species.
“We are unable to definitively say how long they have been here. Based solely on anecdotal reports some residents are claiming to have first seen them since December 2012. However, there is one unconfirmed report dating back almost four years ago,” said Dorsett.
He said a rapid assessment of the Lyford Cay and neighbouring areas “suggested that the cane toads seem to be confined to the Lyford Cay area.
“Evidence of reproduction within freshwater/brackish ponds was uncovered. Bodies of water were sampled by the Department of Environmental Health Services and the pond where tadpoles were observed was chemically treated,” he said, adding that a follow-up visit will be conducted to determine the success of the initial treatment.
Government officials said that unlike the native frog that possesses smooth, moist skin and can be found in trees, windows and walls, the cane toad has bumpy, warty skin and will not be found on walls or in trees.
Dorsett said that cane toads, native to Central and South America, produce toxins from glands located behind the eyes and are found in urban areas, around homes and street lights, in gardens, ponds and bodies of water formed during rainy seasons.
A female cane toad can reproduce up to 30,000 eggs and that all stages of the toad’s life are poisonous.
Dorsett is advising the public to report any sighting of the toad and to seek medical attention if toxins from the cane toad get on an open wound, in the eyes or on the skin.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)