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Monsoon in Tucson means mating season for the Sonoran Desert Toad

The amphibians can be toxic to pets, and humans
Sonoran Desert Toad
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 25, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Monsoon in Tucson typically brings much-needed rain and moisture to the region, but it also ushers in something else—toads.

These amphibians can be spotted in streets, near washes and even in backyards following a storm.

Cressi Brown, founder of Southern Arizona Reptile Rescue and Education—a local nonprofit that specializes in reptiles and amphibians—says the wet conditions during monsoon make it the perfect breeding ground.

“Because they are only above ground for a very short period of time during monsoons, they try to get as much activity done as possible,” Brown said. “You’ll see them near pools so they can lay their eggs. Ponds, golf courses.”

While several species can be found during monsoon, the one to be most cautious about is the Sonoran Desert Toad.

“Those are usually a solid olive-green color,” Brown said.

These amphibians contain a hallucinogenic toxin that can be fatal to pets if they pick one up in their mouth. If this happens, Brown recommends immediately rinsing the pet’s mouth out with water.

“It also might be a good idea to keep on hand some activated charcoal to help deactivate any of those toxins that are ingested into the mouth and call a vet right away,” she added.

For humans, the same toxin can also pose a threat. Brown advises washing hands thoroughly if you come into contact with a Sonoran Desert Toad.

Additionally, if you own a pool, she recommends using a pool cover at night when the toads typically make their way above ground.

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Kenny Darr is a reporter for KGUN 9. He joined the team in January 2023. Before arriving in Arizona he was an Anchor and Reporter at KADN in Lafayette, LA. Share your story ideas with Kenny by emailing kenny.darr@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.