We have a new after dark activity at Wild Wings & Swampy Things called “toading”!
One or both of us set off with spotlight and sturdy bag to collect as many toads as possible while walking a circuit of the property. Recently, with the onset of serious wet season rains we have spent a greater proportion of our time around the wetland ponds catching toads just prior to mating (well, sometimes actually caught in the act!). In the daylight we follow-up with careful observation of the wetlands for toad eggs and have collected any we do find with the aim of drastically reducing our toad population and disrupting their breeding cycle this year. It takes at least three years for toads to be mature enough to breed. I should mention that we put the bag of toads in the freezer overnight as it is the most humane method of disposal. We bury the toad bodies the next day.
It certainly gives us great pleasure to listen to large numbers of our many species of native frog calling without the background noise of cane toads.
Cane toads, a native of Central and South America, were introduced from Hawaii to Queensland in 1935 in an attempt to control two beetle pests in sugar cane crops. The toad didn’t control the beetles and it has now become a major pest in its own right. Cane Toads have large glands upon their shoulders which contain the majority of their poison (lesser amounts are contained in the pores of the skin) and only a few of our native predators have learnt to flip over the toads and consume the stomach and rear legs without touching the poison sacks or eating the skin. All life stages of cane toads are poisonous; the eggs, tadpoles, juveniles and most especially the adult toads. Not only are they poisonous but they compete with our native frogs for the same foods as well as predate upon them.