Cane toads.

In the last 2 weeks I have found 6 dead cane toads in my gardens. Highly unusual and I would like to know what is killing them.


Introduced as a bio-control to take control of a native beetle in the 1930s, the cane toad (Bufo marinus )  soon left the sugar cane fields and developed a taste for a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates. Varying in size, some can weigh a kilo or more and with a seriously poisonous gland on the back of their heads, it can kill most of what attempts to eat them.

But there is some developments. I have witnessed here a live toad with its eyes removed, by a bird I presume.

Australia has spent and wasted millions in various eradication programmes and as we have seen in the Byron Shire an occasional one night muster where people go out and catch them to then euthanize. A feel good effort but a total waste of money and resources.

My own efforts here have been continuous over 20 years, in removing the toad from my gardens, but with climate change impacting all life in some way or another, its difficult to know whether my declining indigenous frog populations is a direct result of a combination of a new wild evolving.

Evolution, as suggested by Rick Shine from the University of Sydney, is working to defeat the toad. Some snake species have developed tolerance to the toxin, others have evolved smaller heads ( like the black snake) so as not to eat larger more toxic toads. And even humans are adapting with cane toad legs on a Darwin restaurant’s menu.

So why is Australia introducing the herpes virus to the carp in the Murray River system?  Why are we not harvesting them for fertilizer or learning to eat them as many Eastern European countries do?


Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next fortnightly working bee will be on Saturday, the 11th of February,  from 8am to 12pm, at Brunswick Heads Crown Land Reserve site. Meet at the end of South Beach Road fire track gate. We will continue on with Bitou Bush primary work  South of the Horse Beach access track. Walk along the fire trial, turn left at the second gate and we will be there. Call me if you lost, hope to see you there.

Please wear boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water, rain coat  and some morning tea. Tools and first aid kit will be provided.

BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed

Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated

Nadia de Souza Pietramale

Project Coordinator

0478 272 300



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2 responses to “Cane toads.

  1. Dear Don We found a live one here yesterday first one I’ve found on our land. I plan to fence my ponds, a difficult task. Mary Fox (Avinashi Saraswati)



  2. Another suggestion and an alternative to fencing, is to plant lomandras closely around ponds. Cane toads need direct flat access to water to mate.


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