C is for Cane Toad
Australia is a beautiful country with white sandy beaches, a clean ocean to enjoy, and unique flora and fauna. Sure, we also have snakes and spiders, some of which are poisonous, BUT . . . every country has a bad side, right? Australia is no exception.
I can cope with the spiders and snakes because I hardly ever see them, and they are more scared of humans anyway, so they keep out of the way. However, what I don’t like is the Cane Toad. They have a bad name in Queensland and the Northern Territory, and most Queenslanders have a very low tolerance for them because they prey on our native wildlife.
I may be passionate about pets, but I draw the line at the Cane Toad!
Let me give you a better picture of this ugly fellow, warts an’ all.
Cane Toads (Bufo Marinus) are native to Central and South America, and were introduced into Queensland, Australia in 1935 in an attempt to control the cane beetles on sugar cane plantations – the cane beetles were destroying the crops.
However, the cane toads bred rapidly and now number in the region of 200 million. The thing is, there is no evidence that they have had an impact on the cane beetles they were introduced to predate, and now we don’t know how to get rid of them.
They can reach 15-23cm (4-9 inches) in length, can weigh up to 1.8 kilos (4lbs), and their skin is tough and warty; definitely not nice to look at – downright ugly in fact.
They have two glands at the back of their head which contain poison, and they will release it when under stress – like when a lizard or large bird tries to attack them. They are a threat to many native species, and so any bird or animal large enough to eat the toad does so at their peril. However, the poison is not harmful to humans unless it gets into the eyes where it will cause a burning sensation. They also spread diseases which affect the local biodiversity.
Toads Hide in Shoes
As much as I try to avoid them, sometimes the inevitable happens; they hide in shoes if you leave them outside overnight, so I always check my gardening shoes before I put them on. Sure enough, one day a cane toad jumped out right onto my hand – I jumped sky high and immediately felt sick . . . seeing them is bad enough, but to actually feel them on your skin – ugh!
Toads in the Back Yard
In the evenings they are all over our back yard, and my dog Poppy has learned to avoid them – she seems to know they are bad. If the poison got into her eyes it would cause a burning sensation and temporary blindness. That’s when the hub reaches for his golf club, or anything else handy. WHACK, over the garden fence!
Woe betide any toads that were slinking around in our backyard when my sons used to mow the lawns – ermm, my boys had good aim! Sorry to any cane toad lovers out there!
Watch out Mr Toad!
It’s true – most Queenslanders hate the damn things – they are just not nice to have around.
Toads on the Roads
Yes, they are all over the roads at night and when I say all over, I mean ALL OVER – hundreds of them. You can hear them POP when the car tyres go over them – yuk! You can’t avoid them (even if you wanted to), there are so many.
I’d rather look at our native Green Tree Frog – he’s cute and does no harm.
Green Tree Frog on my back porch
Until we find a way to control their breeding, it looks like we are stuck with them, and in the meantime they are multiplying and spreading further afield, with reports that they have now crossed the border into New South Wales. They are not happy with us Queenslanders!
Fancy a chuckle at the expense of the Cane Toad? Click here and find out what might have happened to Baz, the Toad. It’s a hoot, you have to watch it!
You might find this interesting – Toad survives 40 minutes in dog’s stomach