Toad Busting: Cane toads have long been Australia’s most wanted

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Cane Toad (Rhinella marina)

Cane Toads (Rhinella marina) are an invasive species common to Australia. They were introduced in 1935 to eat cane beetles, which were destroying sugar cane crops. Cane toads have a voracious appetite but were unsuccessful in controlling the cane beetle. Currently, its estimated that more than two billion cane toads occupy Australia, with a range stretching throughout Queensland, into New South Wales and all the way across Northern Australia to the Western Australia coastline. Cane toads contain a poison, bufotoxin, in their paratoid glands behind the shoulder. This bufotoxin is fatal to domestic animals and wildlife who mouth or ingest the toxin. Cane toads have a myriad of negative impacts to Australia, causing significant declines in native species populations, poisoning domestics cats and dogs, and impacting agricultural industries by consuming dung beetles and bees.

Watergum Cane Toad Challenge

Cane toads have long been Australia’s most wanted, with individuals all over the country uniting in their dislike of this species. Unfortunately, there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to cane toads, but the power of communities has shown to be effective in reducing their numbers. Watergum, a not for profit environmental organisation based on the Gold Coast, are tackling cane toads through their community cane toad problem, the Cane Toad Challenge. This program aims to humanely control the cane toad population at each stage of their life cycle by utilizing volunteers from local communities.

Toad Busting

The most effective way to reduce cane toad populations in your area and nation-wide, is to combine targeted control of adult and tadpole stages. Toad busting involves the manual control of adult cane toads! This is effective on your own property or join together within your community. These events are a fun way to make a big difference as cane toads can live for 10 years in the wild so removing adults from your local population makes a huge difference. All you need is to go out after dusk armed with a torch, gloves, and a bucket to collect as many cane toads as you can. If you need help with humanely euthanising the toads, Watergum have more information and guides on their website.

Cane toads are prolific breeders, producing up to 35x more eggs per year than a green tree frog! While the eggs are easy to pull out, they don’t last for long before turning into tadpoles, which can be hard to scoop. For this reason, Watergum produces a world first Cane Toad Trap and Lure system. This enables you to attract and catch hundreds of cane toad tadpoles at a time for easy removal. By targeting this early stage of the lifecycle, you can remove the species before they reach maturity and cause damage to the environment. If you’re interested in buying a Tadpole Trap and Lures, Watergum have plenty of stockist around Queensland so head on over to their website to purchase in store or online at


If you would like to get involved, you can join the Cane Toad Challenge to make your own Toad Busting group and start Tadpole Trapping! Every cane toad removed really does make a difference, and can turn your back yard or local area into a safe haven for wildlife and pets. To find out more about the Cane Toad Challenge check out Watergum’s website at

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