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Cane Toad
Bufo marinus

The Cane Toad was introduced to Australia in a disasterous experiment in 1935, primarily to help reduce Cane Beetles from affecting sugar crop yields. They quickly escaped and have managed to spread over much of the north-east of Australia. While Australia has many introduced pest species, Cane Toads represent one of the biggest dangers to native wildlife: they consume large mounts of arthropods, other amphibians and even mammals and are also toxic to almost all predators large enough to eat them. Attempts to eradicate them have mainly failed, altough several new methods are being investigated. A few Australian native species are able to cope with the poisons that the Cane Toad secretes from its glands, such as the Keelback Snake and the Saw-billed Turtle. Others, such as Black Kites, Black Butcherbird and several other birds have learnt how to flip the toads over to expose the non-toxic underparts. If this behaviour spreads through bird populations, then the spread may slowly be checked in some areas while providing an increased source of food for native wildlife.
Canes Toads can grow to a massive size: the largest specimins are more than 30 cm in length and over 2 kg in weight, although most are ~15 cm. While a distinction is sometimes maintained between frogs and toads, they are all still related.


Cane Toad

1: Black Mountain Road, Kuranda, Qld, 09/03/2012.