Australia and United States Cane Toads Counterpoint

Australia and the United States have a common problem, cane toads. However they are not as well known in the United States as in Australia; also not as extensive a problem. Cane Toads are found in habitats ranging from sand dunes and coastal heath to the margins of mangroves. They are most abundant in open clearings in urban areas, and in grasslands and woodlands. You can encounter and hear them in Florida.

 

Cane Toads eat almost anything they can swallow, including pet food, and household scraps, but most of their food is living insects. Beetles, honeybees, ants, winged termites, crickets and bugs eaten in abundance. Marine snails, smaller toads and native frogs, small snakes, and small mammals are occasionally eaten by Cane Toads. Because the toads are poisonous, they can kill would-be predators, and therefore have limited predators.

The Cane Toad (a.k.a. Marine Toad or Giant Toad; Bufo marinus) is the largest of the frogs and toads found in Florida. The cane toad is not native to the United States.

 

 Before 1935, Australia did not have any toad species of its own. What the country did have however, was a major beetle problem. Two species of beetles in particular, French’s Cane Beetle and the Greyback Cane Beetle, were in the process of decimating the northeastern state of Queensland’s sugar cane crops. The anticipated solution to this quickly escalating problem came in the form of the cane toad. The plan backfired completely. Everyone in Australia is in agreement that the cane toads have got to go. A government project involved sending Australian ecologists to the cane toad’s native habitat to determine if there was a specific reason why the toad was not a pest in its original environment. To control the cane toad, one might say, is not that easy?

One group “Kimberley Toad Busters” is a totally volunteer group on the ground fighting to stop the cane toad from crossing into Western Australia. Toad Busting ‘Educational’ training sessions, overcoming cultural boundaries, and families united in the effort to stop the cane toad are the resounding results of the united effort; this brings people together for a good positive force of commitment and concern.

  Learn more about the cane toad. 

What National Geographic has to say?