Culling Vrs Cruelty

In it's home environment of South America the Cane Toad plays an integral and necessary role - it has intrinsic value and is key to sustaining a balanced eco-system. Outside of this the Toad is a true menace. In Australia, as in other parts of the world, introduction of the Cane Toad has led to the decimation of certain species and has pushed others to the very brink of extinction.

It is a true survivor, equipped to exploit new habitats with almost bloody minded efficiency. They can exist on a diet ranging from small snakes and even birds, to frogs and insects.

Due to their ability to poison most* animals that attempt to eat them - they are essentially impervious to predation - animals that do attempt to consume CT's usually die as a result.

Some time after originally posting this I was working out in Normanton northwest Queensland, just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

It was a warm day with temps of over 40C when I came across a Kite nest. Underneath was a mound of CT carcesses. It was obvious the bird had been feeding them to it's young.

Unfortunately, the camera was in the truck and the truck was kms away, so I have no hard 'evidence'.

Be that as it may, it's an encouraging development.

Rhinella marina eyeing a death defying mozzie

Having said all of this, I do not believe that any animal should be treated cruelly. After all the Cane Toad did not ask to be introduced to this country and it seems a bit churlish to treat it maliciously when it's simply making the best of it's new surroundings.

So how do I dispose of these animals? Being ectothermic (cold blooded), Cane Toads can be humanely disposed of through the lowering of their body temperature.

Place them in a suitable container (lined with a clean bin bag is best) and refrigerate for around 30 minutes, then transfer to the freezer**.

They can then be disposed of in the rubbish (it's a good idea to leave them in an enviro friendly plastic bag so that scavenging animals are less tempted to eat them).

*There is evidence that a small proportion of Australian animals can indeed prey on Toads. The Australian Magpie has been recorded flipping Toads onto their backs and eviscerating them in order to avoid the Poisonous skin and glands on the Toads back. The Keelback snake has also been recorded eating Toads but only juveniles, consuming large Toads is fatal.

**This method is endorsed by The Australian E.P.A