Saturday, January 03, 2009


First published at Qassia:

There is a cane toad invasion of north east Queensland in Australia - a waiting timebomb it is claimed...

Just what is a cane toad? I thought they were confined to the Queensland sugar cane fields.They are actually an introduced scourge on the scale of wild rabbits. The Queensland players in the Australian State of Origin rugby league team are nicknamed the 'Cane Toads'.

Cane toads, which originated initially from central and South America, were first introduced to Australia in a batch of 101 from Hawaii in 1935, in what was a dismal failure to control the native cane beetles in local sugar fields.

Seven decades later and they have spread 1900 miles from NE Queensland to Darwin's tropical north.

As the toads' skin is toxic to natural predators, they have contributed to a dramatic decline in the population of native snakes, goanna, lizards and quolls(catsized marsupials), something that continues annually.

There are now 200 million of these introduced pests, something akin to the dire consequences of introduced wild rabbits which have also been an ecological disaster in recent decades too.

Scientists believe biological weapons and the consequences of rapid cane toad interbreeding will eventually control them. The interbreeding is already causing arthritis and bad backs which should slow down their march northwards and eastwards in a generation or two and stop the potential annihilation of native animals across Australia.

A Sydney University spokesman said the movement of cane toads across Australia makes them the fastest amphibians on earth, after their rapid evolution from slow moving homebodies to road warriors in the past seventy years.

The toad leaders of the pack become bigger and faster and produce offspring with bigger front legs and longer backs - and develop severe arthritis. Scientists have seen cane toads in Western Australia with spinal arthritis and big bony lumps on their backs.

And so the consequences of this catastrophic introduction of a foreign species ranking with wild rabbits continues.

Contributor's Note
The consequences of introducing foreign animals to Australia without scientific evaluation or research.

Read more


Sire said...

They are a bit of a menace Peter. The main worry is that they may migrate to other states causing complete havoc. They found a couple in SA and there was a bit of an uproar. I think it hitched a ride on a road train.

Kiwi Riverman - The Writer said...

They have done thay already, Peter. One was found on your WA coast recently.

Sire said...

isn't it amazing how little man knows about his environment. They introduce a species to control a pest and then that species becomes a worst pest that the one they were supposed to exterminate.

Kiwi Riverman - The Writer said...

Mankind doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. Humankind is no better! LOL

Tyla Mac said...

These pests are also running rampant in tropical Florida in the USA. Many pets have been poisoned and of course native frogs and toad populations are suffering.

bstone said...

this is super wierd!!!!!!!!!!!