A neighborhood in Palm Beach Gardens is overrun with thousands of poisonous Bufo toads, which secrete a poison that can be harmful to pets and children.

According to CBS affiliate WPEC-TV, residents in the community have seen the toads in their yards, swimming pools and drains.

In a letter to residents, management at the property where the toads have been seen said the toad infestation was an “isolated occurrence” and a “natural course of nature.”

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The toads are not native to Florida and were introduced in South Florida to control pests in sugar cane fields. They can be gray, brownish gray, olive brown, red brown or yellowish and can vary from 4 to 9.25 inches in length. Young Bufo toads are smaller and darker.

Their venom, which is secreted when the toad feels threatened, can be especially toxic to pets. Death in some animals may occur by cardiac arrest within 15 minutes.

If you think your pet has had an encounter with this deadly species:

  • Immediately and vigorously flush your pets' mouth with water to prevent further absorption of the toxin
  • Be sure to hold the mouth open and downward to keep your pet from swallowing more of the toxin
  • Get your pet to your veterinarian right away
  • While on your way, call ahead so that they can prepare for emergency arrival
  • Protect yourself with nonabsorbent gloves and protective eyewear, and wash your own hands and all other exposed areas

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