Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cane Toad

The cane toad was introduced into north Queensland in 1935 to combat two insects that were damaging the sugar cane crops, the grey backed cane beetle and the frenchie beetle. Although the cane toad ate the beetles when they were available, as a biological control agent they had no impact at all. Within five years an effective insecticidal spray became available and the sugar industry lost interest in the cane toad.

Now, the cane toad has spread through Queensland, into the Northern Territory and also south into northern New South Wales. It is considered a pest and there is evidence to suggest it is partly responsible for the dwindling numbers of native frogs as well as some other native animal species. The cane toad is poisonous at all stages of its life and it has no natural predators in Australia. It is one of Australia's worst environmental disasters and the government is spending a lot of money looking for ways to eradicate it.

I came across this cane toad as I was mowing the lawn today. It is now an ex-toad. No, I didn't run the mower over it. The most humane way of disposing of them is to put them in a container in the fridge for several hours which causes the toad to go into a coma-like state. Then move the container into the freezer until the next bin collection day.


Friendless said...

Humane be damned! I'm not putting toads into my freezer! My experience with cane toads is that they're really really tough as well, so just hitting them doesn't usually kill them. When I find one I will do something like put a brick on it. Several weeks later you can take the brick off.

Ozvortex said...

I double-bagged this one in plastic bags before putting him in the beer fridge downstairs. I hate to think of some of the gruesome ways we despatched cane toads when I was a kid...