Lifestyle

I DON’T LIKE MY NEIGHBORS

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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?

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