Aussies Living Simply

cane toads

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    I can’t seem to find a definative answer online what is the apropriate course of action if you find cane toads?

    They’re a pest but I wasn’t sure if you should kill them humanly or let them go or call animal control or what.

    Any ideas on the legals & if different the standard way to handle the nasty critters.


    The generally accepted humane way is to catch them, place the toads in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer, where it’s said they go painlessly to sleep. On major toad eradication nights the toads caught are sometimes gassed with CO2, but this isn’t practical for the average individual.


    Is it legal to kill them?


    I found out while trying to dispose of dead cane toads (killed viciously with extreme prejudice) that if their carcases are placed on top of a meat ants nest, the workers feed them and their toxins to the queen and the nest dies!


    Yes treacle, it’s perfectly legal to kill them. I’m not sure if this is a serious post or a wind-up, but I’ll take it that you’re fair dinkum and perhaps new to the tropics or subtropics. The cane toad is ecological public enemy number 1. They’re not native. They were introduced into Queensland from South America in the 1930s to eat the cane beetle that was decimating the sugar crop. Guess what? They never ate the cane beetle. Why? Because the beetle lives up in the cane and toads can’t climb or jump high enough to catch the beetle. However, they eat anything else that moves or even stands still – like pet food left outside. The original 70 have multiplied into billions and spread all over Queensland, into the NT (where they threaten wildlife in Kakadu N.P.) and have crossed the border into the Kimberley in WA. They are responsible for the death of large quantities of our native wildlife, including quolls, kookaburras (and other birds of prey) and snakes – not to mention many family dogs. They compete voraciously with our native amphibians and reptiles for the same food source.

    The toads advance about 20-30 km a year. Before southern readers get too complacent, they are showing a remarkable ability to evolve quickly, which has astounded scientists. They now live in colder areas of Queensland where they weren’t able to survive just a couple of decades ago. I’d say, if they can’t already, that they will survive okay in Sydney. Their rear legs have also grown longer, which enables them to cover greater distances. Originally they advanced about 10 kms a year. Now it’s twice or even three times that rate.

    Be careful handling them and wear rubber gloves and eye protectors. If sufficiently stressed, the toads will squirt out a toxic spray from glands in the back of their heads, although in my experience they don’t do this if handled gently. I use a goldfish net to catch them, then dump them in a plastic bucket. They can’t jump out of these. At the end of a night’s hunting, I just tip them into a large plastic bag and put them in the freezer. They next day they’re like a brick. I then dig a hole and bury them.


    I am aware of all the things they do & that they are poisonous in every stage of life to all but a few species.

    Yes I am new to an area with cane toads.

    The thought came about because my son found one & doing a quick google to find out that it was what it was I was struck with guilt, I felt given their ecological devastation that I should kill it knowing that if I didn’t it could produce 60,000+ eggs in a year but I was also feeling that they are living creatures & have a right to be.

    This said I waited till my son was inside & dropped a block buster on him cut him in half to make sure the job was done & buried him.

    I don’t want to be responsible for the damage they can do but I still feel bad that in this situation they need to be killed, honestly if it came to it I would be part of eradication programs but I would be doing it to help not to have fun as some seem to.


    is that a warning or a sugestion?


    If dealing with one toad I plop an icecream container, the kind with a separate lid, over it and then slide the lid underneath the toad , then click the bucket down to secure it.Then I turn it right way up – holding the lid on securely!! – and put the whole thing in a plastic bag before putting it in the freezer.Depending on the container supply I either put the wholething in the bin , ideally just before collection , or tip the frozen toad into the plastic bag and into the bin ,and wash out the container, which is clearly marked “TOAD” and kept in the laundry for the next one.Fortunately we don’t get too many here , or rather we probably do, but I usually only see one every few weeks.


    g’day treacle,

    nup not a protected species.

    the best way realy is go do evening, early pre-dawn safaris and collect them then freeze, no they cannot contaminate food in the freezer, one would imagine all food in the freezer is well wrapped and the toads will be tied up in a double shopping bag.

    once dead say 24 hours later then shallow bury them around the garden for fresh blood and bone fertiliser, or dump them in the bin on rubbish day.

    you can create places they might hide under or in, a lenght of black painted poly pipe one end closed the other open tucked under the mulch with open end out, then empty the pipe whne they are in there same thing into the freezer.

    if you live where they gather to breed pools/puddles then go collect them there and look for eggs or toadpoles pull them out onto the ground to perish.

    another where sience got it wrong.



    I agree with Wazza that these pests are public enemy number one. they must eat umpteen tons of insects that native wildlife could be eating. not to mention the native wildlife that dies after eating cane toad.

    I live in the bush … and I mean right in the bush … and have noticed in dry times that kookaburras and crows eat canetoads with seeming immunity. what these birds do is bash the toad to death on a tree trunk and eat the internal organs leaving the rest.

    some birds such as the tawny frogmouth need to be trained by their parents what is good to eat and what’s not. seems sometimes lessons are hard learnt for we occasionally find young tawny frogmouths dead without a mark on their beautiful bodies.


    I find them in my fish pond, as soon as they see you they submerge but dont swim away so I grab them by hand.

    The poison sacks are just behind their head and have never seen one “squirt” poison even after severe provocation, best description is exudes a white, cream consistency fluid. I used to use gloves and scoops etc at first, but as long as you dont put your hands near your face its quite safe….wash afterwards of course.

    Any feral pest can be humanely killed.

    Interesting note, experts say the crocodile explosion in the north is directly influenced by the toads, the crocs main enemy is the goannas, water monitors, as their favourite food is croc eggs which they are very proficient at finding and eating. So as the the reptiles die from toads the crocs proliferate


    so why don’t the young crocs go after the toads evening it out?


    If you have a pond in your garden, check it every morning and destroy any eggs before they have a chance to hatch. Toad eggs are easy to distinguish from frog eggs. The toad lays eggs in long sticky strings. Frog eggs are in little frothy mounds.


    Bushy’s post puts me in mind that part of the Dreaming of a indigenous mob up there involves the water monitor. it is confounding to their belief sytem that nature would deliver up a creature like the cane toad that kills their ‘totem animal’ which is a central representation of nature for them.

    get what I mean? that nature militates against sacred nature is confounding …


    For those who are reasonably new to collecting and disposing (humanely) of cane toads, please be careful when collecting the smaller ones to make sure you have cane toads and not native brown frogs, or native toads which are not a pest but can look very similar to cane toads, especially in the dark. There are several good Google sights which will show pics of the frogs/toads relevant to certain areas of Qld etc.

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