27 Mar 2007

Stalking the Wily Cane Toad

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Heh! Even holier-than-thou tree-hugging enviromental whackjobs retain mankind’s natural sporting instincts.

They enjoy hunting down the wily and elusive cane toad (Bufo marinus), and are just as proud as any Safari Club-member when they bag a record-book specimen. (Personally, though, I think deer, antelope, and sheep all look much better mounted in one’s trophy room.)

AP reports:

An environmental group said Tuesday it had captured a “monster” toad the size of a small dog.

With a body the size of a football and weighing nearly 2 pounds, the toad is among the largest specimens ever captured in Australia, according to Frogwatch coordinator Graeme Sawyer.

“It’s huge, to put it mildly,” he said. “The biggest toads are usually females but this one was a rampant male … I would hate to meet his big sister.”

Frogwatch, which is dedicated to wiping out a toxic toad species that has killed countless Australian animals, picked up the 15-inch-long cane toad during a raid on a pond outside the northern city of Darwin late Monday.

Cane toads were imported from South America during the 1930s in a failed attempt to control beetles on Australia’s northern sugar cane plantations. The poisonous toads have proven fatal to Australia’s delicate ecosystems, killing millions of native animals from snakes to the small crocodiles that eat them.

As part of its so-called “Toad Buster” project, Frogwatch conducts regular raids on local water holes, blinding the toads with bright lights then scooping them up by the dozen.

“We kill them with carbon dioxide gas, stockpile them in a big freezer and then put them through a liquid fertilizer process” that renders the toads nontoxic, Sawyer said.

“It turns out to be sensational fertilizer,” he added.

Did you catch the line about “Australia’s delicate ecosystems”?

Australia has about seven out of ten of the top-ranking venomous critters on the planet. Its plants generally come equipped with an array of spikes and thorns a Sonoran cactus might envy. Even the cuddly platypus can poison you with a spur on its hind foot. “Delicate?” I’d hate to run into whatever lives in the ecosystem these people would describe as robust.

2 Feedbacks on "Stalking the Wily Cane Toad"


‘Delicate’, has nothing to do with how poisonous or not the animals in the Ecosystem are. It has to do with how drastically the loss, or reduction or one element in the ecosystem affects everything else. For example, if there are certain fruiting trees that are relied on by a native animal for food. If this tree’s seeds only grow after being eaten and excreted by these animals. If the animal has a massive reduction in numbers, then that will affect the amount of fruit trees, which will lead to more of a reduction in the animal’s numbers, in a deadly spiral. Australia does have a VERY delicate ecosystem, for varying reasons. There are quite a few of the native animals that only breed and thrive in VERY strict conditions. I know how bad Cane Toads are, I used to live there. Believe me, I can’t even kill a spider, But I wouldn’t hesitate killing a Cane Toad. They breed out of control, (its not unusual to see about 20-30 in your backyard each night) they are HIGHLY poisonous, and the amount of destruction (to native flora and fauna) they do is awful. So I can understand why so-called ‘Greenies’, would hunt them.

Julie Witherington

I have a miniature 11 pound dachsund and almost lost her due to a Bufo toad weighing at least 15-20 pounds in our fenced backyard. After a night at the ER vet and $600+ she did survived and luckily without any nerve damage. We were lucky. But now I am seeing a big toad that is maybe 1-2 pounds. I am so worried for my dogs. What can I do to get rid of them?


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