Record-breaking, mammoth cane toad put down by park rangers as it’s an invasive species

The cane toad is an invasive species in Australia. Australians don’t like invasive species because they often attack native species. Australians love their native species and will do anything to protect them. Australia’s native species are threatened primarily by human activity and population growth which is destroying their habitat. That’s the introduction.

I don’t like the fact that this record-breaking female cane toad was killed because it was an invasive species. It is a fantastic looking animal. I’m sorry, it “was” a fantastic looking animal. They say it was taken to a museum. Are they going to stuff and exhibit it?

It is believed that it was the largest ever found and it was discovered in Queensland’s Conway National Park which is marked on the image below.

Giant cane toad 'Toadzilla' weighing a record 5.9 lbs (2.7 kg)
Giant cane toad ‘Toadzilla’ weighing a record 5.9 lbs (2.7 kg). Image: MikeB based on and image from the park rangers.

Kylee Gray, a park ranger said that she encountered it when a snake appeared across a track. It forced the rangers to stop their vehicle. She stepped out, looked down and was aghast at the size of ‘Toadzilla’. She said:

“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was. A cane toad that size will eat anything it can fit into its mouth, and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals.”

This species of invasive animal was first introduced into Queensland sugar plantations in 1935 to control beetles. They multiplied with devastating consequences.

That scenario has also been multiplied with respect to rats and feral cats. And foxes and other animals. Including rabbits. They were introduced by people many years ago to add to the problem of invasive species. They are a people problem but the Aussies tend to solve that problem by simply killing them and conveniently brushing under the carpet the fact that humans created the problem in the first place.

People are asking why this fantastic animal was euphemistically speaking “put down”. The Times discusses how you kill a cane toad which I think is a bit distasteful but I thank them for the article.

Apparently, many northern communities hunt cane toads at night. They debate how to kill them. Some hit them over the head with a golf club but this risks a poison splashback. Poison is contained in the parotid glands which protrude from behind each ear of the cane toad. So, hitting them with a hammer is not a good idea.

“Researchers” on how to kill cane toads believe that the most humane way is to put them in a plastic bag and then put them in the fridge for a few hours. You then transfer them to the freezer where they pass away. Nice work guys. Excellent research.

Toadzilla was found in a rainforest at an elevation of about 1,300 feet. The ranger said: “We believe it’s a female due to the size, and female cane toads to grow bigger than males.”

They can lay 30,000 eggs in a season and Queensland’s environment agency said that they had caused some of their predators to die out because they eat the prey animals of other predators. The toads compete with native species for shelter and food.

The species is native to South America and they are now found throughout northern Australia. They can travel about half a mile a night which sounds extraordinary. They are endemic as far north as Darwin. They been reported in Kimberley, Western Australia.

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