Farewell, Fornicating Cane Toads

The swimming pool seems to be a sort of love hotel for cane toads…you can hear them croaking endearments until the early hours of the morning, probably lolling on lilos and sipping cocktails adorned with paper parasols, before doing what one goes to a love hotel to do….but cometh the morning, cometh nemesis – me – armed with a dustpan, ploughing through the water to trap those still entwined and to evict them over the side with no more compunction than that shown by a caribbean pirate.

I loathe the things. They pop up everywhere, even in the house if the doors have been left open late into the evening, leaving their slimy calling cards to mark their passage, but they are incredibly toxic to the dogs. The slime they give off if attacked goes to the nervous system, the heart and the gastrointestinal tract and can kill a small dog very quickly if not treated.

Our dogs vary in their reaction to cane toads…most like to hunt them out and wait for me to dispose of them. Bunter likes to kill them ,so I have to be sure that I always have milk and lemons on hand,,,the milk to rub on his gums and round his mouth and lemon juice to round off the treatment. Fine if I am here, but it has happened that he has caught one while I was out and needed milk poured into his stomach – not so easy with a forty kilo dog who is becoming comatose.

Thus you can imagine with what delight I empty the pool and flush future generations of cane toads down the tubes…


Damn right.

But the pool has been emptied for the last time.

Leo cannot use it any more…the steps are too much for him…so it is being covered over to provide an extension of the balcony for plants which do not need to have shelter from the weather. In theory this leaves space on the existing balcony for patio furniture but as Leo is of the opinion that hammocks make him seasick and that any soft furnishings just encourage the dogs to use them as bedding I suspect that the extension will be just that…an extension of plants….

So far, no covering has been envisaged, but let one cherished plant be upset and I guarantee that before the sun sets on the next day we will have enough awnings set to rival the Sydney Opera House.

I shall miss the pool…but not the cane toads.

38 thoughts on “Farewell, Fornicating Cane Toads”

  1. As an Australian, I sympathise about the cane toads. They are thoroughly unappealing. These days in Australia they advertise community days where you come along and hunt for cane toads in your neighbourhood and dispose of them.

    1. What a wonderful idea! Do you think it would appeal to Australian tourists to Costa Rica? ‘ Homesick for Australia? Come along for a cane toad extermination day!’

  2. Trebuchet. You need a cane toad trebuchet. One with a remote control so that you just set it up, wait for the little b’gers to step onto the apparatus (styled as a small but perfectly-formed swimming pool perhaps) and then twangggg…. watch ’em on their way to Cuba.

    You’ll need a Super-Deluxe 12B Civil Engineering Meccano Set.

  3. I did not realise they were so dangerous to dogs.
    Better to cull them than have problems with dogs.
    I suspect they will soon find other pools, possibly in the neighbours?
    The new plant space, plus awnings, sounds wonderful.

    1. Really dangerous beasts as far as the dogs are concerned which is why when they corner one i dispose of it at nomatter what hour and at what inconvenience.
      The extension is going up…by the look of the metal roads and cement you could probably park a double decker bus on it, let alone a few pots…or perhaps there is something I have not been told…

  4. Heavens how awful! Puts into context my (minor) dog worries about their being bitten by ticks or eating whole plum stones. Shame about losing the pool. I’m contemplating getting into ours this week – temperatures are soaring. But not a shame about losing the toads.

    1. They are vile things
      I shall be sorry to lose it too…but Leo can’t manage to get down to it now and the existing balcony is burstng to the seams with plants, so an extension it is.

  5. Thanks for the giggle but what a pain for the dogs. We decided on no pool here after always having them in RSA. I really do not miss it, so I hope you don’t either. Frogs and toads can be so noisy. I remember one holiday in South Africa we stayed at a train converted into a hotel. Apart from the fact that the beds were too short especially for Nigel 6′ 4″ the damn frogs just outside our carriage in a dam were in full chorus all night. Place not recommend. Best wishes to you both. Diane

    1. I’ll get used to not having the pool…given the size of the bath Danilo constructed for me – think pharaonic sarcophagus – I can cool off in that.
      We are often up in the night to make tea, and the chorus continues well into the early hours, just like your train hotel. What with that and the hobnail booted ducks on the roof let no one remark on the quietness of the countryside!

    1. It does have a certain je ne sais quoi, doesn’t it!
      Now imagine yourself dropping into the pool in the morning with a dustpan to track down and remove the enamoured pairings….

  6. Back in the day (60s-70s) at my family home on Kauai, cane toads (Bufo marinus) were the bane of our existence. There were literally gazillions of the loathsome critters and at night they would flock like protestors to the streets which were rural roads lacking a single stoplight. A drive at night was a traumatic experience punctuated by the explosive compression of toad after toad after toad. Returning there was always a circle of toads worshipping the lights that marked the start of the path from driveway to house. Creepy and disgusting. Those fat, toxic and nocturnal scourges had one and only one saving benefit – they absolutely loved to consume centipedes and the Hawaii version of the tropical centipede is a horrid insect that I simply despise beyond the telling. What a Hobson’s choice between Bufo and centipede but at the end of day I had to admit the Bufo was the better tenant on the property. Thanks for what we used to call a “chicken-skin” memory.

    1. I’ve just looked up the centipede in question…what a horror! As was the idea of washing down the tyres after a night drive over cane toads….tropical paradise my…eye!
      I see that Nicaraguans have a bright idea for disposing of cane toads…they remove the flshy parts , inflate the skin and sell the empty dried out – but puffed up – toad to tourists.
      I hadn’t come across the phrase ‘chicken-skin’ memory before…but ex Rancho Cucuracha semper aliquid novi.
      I hope Max is getting along well and relishing his 3.00 am excursions.

      1. Tourists are always a bit strange but what possesses someone to look at a giant, dehydrated amphibian and say, “Damn, Skippy, that frog would look mighty good in my house?” What does one do with it? Put a light bulb inside as a lamp? Stuff it with nuts and crackers and pass around at parties on the patio? Use it as storage for small office supplies? Hmmm… come to think of it maybe I need some Bufo taxidermy after all.

  7. My experience with noisy, slimy creatures is limited to tree frogs, and disgusting only because of the noise a.l.l. night. My grandchildren would say, next day, How were you able to go to sleep with all that noise last night, and I would reply, I took out my hearing aids.

  8. I’ve never heard of cane toads, but they sound horrendous. It reminds me of a visit to Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries, which is surrounded by wetlands and home to (allegedly) rare natterjack toads. Well, considering they were supposed to be rare, there were hundreds of the little buggers – all doing their level best to ensure that they were not rare at all, and making a tremendous noise while they went about it. Sorry to hear about the pool, though.

  9. My faher’s family came from Galloway…..what is said to be rare is, all too often, damn well nothing of the sort!
    On our first trip to Costa Rica the guide book said that, if we were lucky, we would see leaf cutter ants…we emerged that morning to see the owner’s gardener pouring diesel into one of their nests. Perfect pests!
    I can always cool off in the bath…a sarcophagos built by Danilo….but I will miss the pool.

      1. He’s no footballer…luckily, or I could not afford his wages!
        We could not find the style of bath we wanted, so, as he was building the house, he made one in concrete and tiled it. Rameses II would envy it!

  10. Even though I’m a keen ecologist, I applaud your efforts in getting rid of the cane toads. Anything that kills one’s friends really does have to go.

    It is funny, I never thought of toads being dangerous. (Having just written that, Mr Toad had to pop into my mind in his motor car). I am sure you will do better with the plants!

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