Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The five to nine inch long giant toad that was introduced to South Florida is easily distinguished by the large warts covering its body and legs and especially by its parotid glands, the elongate, very large swellings behind its eyes. Giant toads vary from gray to brown above and are somewhat cream-colored with black specks below. Both the warts and the parotid glands produce a milky poison that protects the toads from its enemies. All toads produce such chemicals, but the giant toad is so toxic that a dog or cat that consumes one can be killed. Cats usually drop the offensive animal, dogs often do not. Some large toads can even squirt some of their milky poison short distances. The poison causes an animal to drool and often foam at the mouth. The animal twitches, may vomit, often loses control of its hind limbs, and may die. If you suspect your pet has tangled with one of these toads, flush its mouth with running water and contact your veterinarian. The poison from cane toads can irritate your skin if you handle one. If the poison is on your hands and you rub your eyes, you can experience a severe burning sensation, but probably no permanent damage.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.