Tag Archives: cane toads



Tropical rain in short bursts. Very welcome.

The garden edges are a busy recital hour or two for the tree and green frog.

Two dead cane toads too which is interesting? This is the 7th dead cane toad I have found in 3 months. No visible injury, just seriously bloated.



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Cane toads on the move.

With temps fluctuating up to 35 degrees yesterday to a low of 20 on other days, the weather is certainly not able to be very accurately predicted anymore. Sudden claps of thunder, a few spots of heavy rain and the skies clear with in minutes.

But the cane toads are out. Found 3 dead in the gardens and 4 more around the recently dug out pond. I fear eggs have been laid, a female can lay up to 30 000 eggs in a season so I can expect some to survive.

Unexplained the dead toads. No body injury, all 3 in very good condition. Recently read somewhere that cane toad legs have appeared on a Darwin menu.

I have become a lot more realistic to the permanence of the cane toad.  Millions of dollars have been spent on its extermination, even in this Shire, so my admiration for the determination and strength of this creature has increased.


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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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Over the last 4 weeks I have discovered four dead cane toads within the garden confine, unseen before the last 2 years. In Fred Pearce’s book, THE NEW WILD, Rick Shine of the University of Sydney says “the vast majority of smaller predators learned not to eat the poisonous cane toad. Slowly, the larger predators got the message too. Fresh water crocodiles learned to nibble the toads fleshy back legs and leave the rest of the body. The black kite and the crow have both developed the trick of avoiding the poison gland by attacking its throat and belly.

“Aversion learning”, Shine concludes.

No injury marks on the dead toad below. Another one I found a year earlier had its eyes removed and was sitting, still alive, in the hot sun. I felt sorry for it.


Another news item this week. Herpes to be introduced to Carp in the Murray-Darling Basin. I was wondering if Carp would feel the same pain human herpes sufferers feel?


I am NOT convinced and have been thinking of all the products that could come in incentives from Governments to support Carp entrepreneurial thinking.  Fertilizers, fish farm food, food supplement for hens, recipes galore for humans ect.

Surely there is a better way?

Invasion, from introduced plant species, to cane toads and Carp, are filling the niche we humans have usually  created.  Create a space and something will inhabit it if nearby and favorable.

Dingo’s, the sheep and the rabbit, all introduced through migration, have all helped to evolve Australia into what it is ecologically today.


The unforeseen danger of any bio-control is that they can start to impact on the wider ecology and with far reaching consequences.




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