(SPOT.ph) Dengue is currently a national epidemic, so it makes sense that everyone is doing their part to try and get rid of it. One barangay recently made headlines for their own creative way of battling the disease-carrying mosquitos: Barangay Matandang Balara in Quezon City released frogs to curb the number of insects in their area—except that they might have just set loose a completely different problem. New reports are saying that the 1,000 or so animals now hopping around the area are actually cane toads, a venomous species that excretes a harmful substance through their skin.
Dr. Leticia Afuang of the University of the Philippines - Los Baños told TV5 News Aksyon that cane toads are poisonous and are considered pests. In another report with CNN Philippines, wildlife biologist Carmela Española said that merely touching one could cause "nausea, severe allergy." She also adds that "it has caused death in the past."
The animals, which were reported as bull frogs, were released into the area on August 20, as led by Barangay Captain Allan Franza. "Ang pinanggalingan [ng mga palaka ay] Baras, Rizal. Kung nakakapinsala 'yan dapat may insidente na nakapinsala ang palaka doon sa bukid ng Rizal," Franza told CNN Philippines.
Cane toads, which were brought to the Philippines in 1934, are more commonly known as bull frogs locally. While no official statement has been released regarding the frog's real identity, we wouldn't take any chances.
Cane toads also have a pretty bad rap, historically speaking. In 1935, the species was introduced to Australian wildlife as a way to curb another population: in this instance, the destructive cane beetles. According to the National Geographic, "[Cane toads] turned out to be failures at controlling beetles, but remarkably successful at reproducing and spreading themselves."
Main image from Bernard Dupont - Wikimedia.