Category Archive 'Toad Hunting'

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.

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