Destination – Longwood Florida*

Toad Invasion

It was a dark and stormy night.  On the morning of May 25, 1982, residents of Longwood Florida woke to find millions of toads had invaded their neighborhood overnight. One resident spoke to TV reporters described the scene as “…tons of toads that apparently came from nowhere.”

The toad invasion was confined to only a few neighborhoods but driving in the streets heading to work was a nightmare, squashing the poor creatures that were everywhere. Some people swung brooms at the critters but they just kept coming. One woman complained that they had found their way into her house and were multiplying and others were diving into her pool like lemmings into the sea.

The mysterious invasion lasted four days. The streets became a nasty mess with people shoveling their driveways and patios and netting critters out of their pools.

Then, all of a sudden, overnight, they disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. Some people thought they had crawled out of the earth and simply went back into the ground. Others said they dropped out of the sky. Florida biologists were called in to find the answer. They identified the creatures as spadefoot toads, indigenous to Florida. The scientists explained that the unusually rainy winter provided the toads with more water in which to breed. It is a phenomenon that has occured periodically over a million years, and the experts warned it could happen again.  One longtime resident remarked, “They should just be glad it wasn’t an invasion of alligators.”

*Source, Sterling Publishers, Weird Florida, by C. Carlson, 2005

Picture – Warren Photographics

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