The feral cane toads are back! Make no mistake - these are killers.
With warmer weather, Queensland cane toads - #bufomarinus - are coming out of their winter sleepy phase, invading garden ponds (these are @aussiecountrygarden ) and mating after dark. The low drumming nocturnal mating call is less obvious in the dry time, but no drought's going to stop these tough predatory invaders.
The #canetoad was introduced in 1935 to combat cane beetle in Queensland sugarcane fields. Bad move! Females, the fat ugly ones (pic 4), lay up to 20,000 eggs. Males tend to be smaller (pic 2 and 3). When threatened toads excrete toxic froth from glands behind the head (the orange-brown area shows up well in pic 4). The rest of the toad is not toxic - so handling them will not give you warts or make you grow horns and a tail.
Cane toads are #environmental vandals. One toad can eat 150 native insects in an hour. Pic 5 shows the beetle shells from toad #poo I found by my #gardenpond . If eaten, cane toads kill snakes, goannas, birds, dogs... The is hope, however. Predatory birds (mostly #kites and #crows) have learned to flip a toad and eviserate it through the mouth. If you see an intact but dead upside-down toad, chances are you witness to a small wonder of adaptable nature.
Humans can help too, especially if you have a toad-attracting water feature in the garden. TO CATCH A TOAD: shine a torch in its toady little face to stun him/her, then calmly pick it up by the back leg. TO HUMANELY KILL A TOAD (and help save the #snakes and #beetles of Australia!): drop Mr or Mrs Toad in a strong plastic bag with all its friends and lovers, tie a knot, put in the crisper drawer of the fridge overnight. Yes, in the fridge. This replicates winter and toads shut down as if #hibernating (trust me, a crisper can hold up to 50+). Then put the bag in the freezer for 24 hours to euthanize them - painlessly. Please do not sprinkle live toads with salt or Dettol - which is the old bushie's way. TO DISPOSE of dead #toads : Bury in the garden and plant a food-producing or bird-attracting shrub. Dead toads make great #organic #fertiliser. #landforwildlife #inmygardentoday #the_enviro_man #habitat