Cane Toads

Briaunna Boyd ; 1st Period ; HNS Earth Environmental Science

What is it ?

A cane toad is a large amphibian that has dry, warty skin. The class, amphibian, is composed of frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. Amphibians are categorized by having an aquatic gill-breathing larval stage typically followed by a terrestrial lung-breathing adult stage. Cane toads are typically found around the Americas (U.S.A., Central America, and South America). The scientific name for a cane toad is Bufo Marinus. Cane toads can grow to be about 4-6 inches in length; they can weight about 2.9 pounds.
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What does it do ?

3,000 cane toads was originally brought in to control the spread of destructive cane beetles on sugar plantations in Queensland, Australia. People eventually realized that the toads were terrible at controlling the growing beetle population. The cane toads were too busy reproducing themselves.

Sooooo. . .What's the problem ?

The number of cane toads present today are well over into the millions. The population of the toads in the Americas are controllable in their natural range. The amount of cane toads in Australia got out of control because they had very few natural predators, and they were able to survive on abundant food sources, including pet food. This allows them to reproduce easily. Cane toads travel by ground, but can also be transported accidentally by pot plants or loads of timber.

Cane toads in the U.S. are typically found in the lower parts of the states between Texas and Florida. The toads are considered an invasive species because they are killing off native species with the use of poisonous venom. Cane toad venom is a mix of toxins that mostly affect the heart. When an animal tries to eat the toad, the venom (a milky liquid) is ejected from glands located on the cane toad's shoulders. The venom kills slowly and efficiently. Although the venom rarely effects humans in this manner, some have been known to die from eating cane toads and their eggs.

How can we manage them ?

There is no official way to stop the invasion of these cane toads. The Australia government has set up a Caring For Our Country Initiative. This initiative requires the manual removal of the cane toads by local communities.