Toadily Toads Official Position on Cane Toads (bufo marinus)
Photo courtesy of Jay Hominsky, Tampa Florida (click for larger view)
Page revisions last made March 2009
The BIG news: NO species native to Australia has become extinct due to cane toads! Native frogs who attempt to eat cane toads quickly learn and spread the word that cane toads are not good eating!
SPELLING CORRECTED! (blush) Apparently, this article was uploaded originally BEFORE spell check was done. Ooops! But that doesn't lessen the importance of the information. I run many websites and this is a "one person show" here. It is inevitable that some detail, like running the spell check might get overlooked.
Below is the original article that I wrote several years ago. It has had a few updates and revisions where necessary. As new information becomes available, I try to update this page. I think the MOST important thing I've ever come across on the subject of the cane toad, is the site by Team Bufo in Australia. It is the only real voice of reason in a sea of lies and chaos. I strongly urge you to read this page, if no other on Debunking Myths about Cane Toad Impact: http://www.canetoadsinoz.com/debunkingcanetoadimpactmyths.html
Cane Toads in Oz.com is a great site. Its well designed and easy to understand and navigate. TWO FLIPPERS UP!
Some guy posted something on our forum a few months back about George Bush and Iraq or some such thing. I didn't read it word for word, but apparently, after scanning the post, the guy took offense to my position on this page regarding toads. He was most likely one of the jerks I mentioned who enjoys bashing animal skulls in with bats and car tires and seeing as he had nothing to add constructively to the cane toad issue, he started doing this anti-American thing. I did not answer and deleted the post. I will not engage anyone like that. I am not a supporter of war or Bush or anything negative that is done by this country. Especially not considering what this country has done to my Native American ancestors or my husband's Cherokee ancestors. I don't support evil or wrong doing. Period. So don't bother telling me what an idiot you think Bush was. I don't disagree, first off, and second, this is a TOAD site. It has nothing to do with the war in Iraq or any political stuff.
Original Article with revisions:
Most frogs and toads in most of the world are good for the environment. Toads are helpful to gardeners to eliminate grubs and slugs and other insects that destroy vegetables. Toads and frogs are important in the food chain. If you live anywhere on planet earth, you should do all you can to protect toads! Many toads are now endangered species.
Australia, however, has a special problem: The Cane toad. Australia has no native members of the bufo family, but they have many different frogs. The only toad they see in the wild doesn't belong there.
In Australia, there is a problem with the non-native species, bufo marinus (Cane toad). As the toads move into new areas, posing a possible threat to local wildlife, the issue has been making news. Some officials, as well as many citizens of Australia have openly advocated torture and cruelty towards the toads as a method of taking care of the situation. It is unbelievable that anyone living in this century could be so barbaric and uneducated! And if that isn't scary enough, now there are laboratories in Australia, supposedly working on a biological weapon against bufo marinus! Do they REALLY think this will never effect other amphibians? Is biological warfare against the toads logical, especially in a time when 1/3 of the planet's amphibian population is threatened with extinction?
Toadily Toads understands the dynamics involved in the Cane toad problem, however, we wish to state outright that we love all toads and must point out that the problem is completely human in origin and that all negativity, abuse and torture towards the species is misdirected, inappropriate, ignorant and sick.
Any acts of violence and aggression taken against these animals is inhumane and morally, and ethically wrong. Although in the interest of saving endangered native species, it may become necessary to eliminate populations of b. marinus from local ecosystems, we feel that it must be done properly. My favorite fantasy solution would be collection of specimens and relocation back to their native habitat, which is impractical and may have other unforeseen consequences. In that case, we feel the only other solutions are to aggressively prevent b. marinus eggs from hatching by fishing them out of ponds and secondly, as a last resort, to put specimens of b. marinus to sleep in a humane, pain free manner.
Remember, these toads are living creatures just like humans - they feel pain! They have nerves in their bodies like we do. If the shoe was on the other foot, would you rather be put to sleep painlessly, or would you prefer to have your skull bashed in? How about be run over repeatedly with a car? How about sprayed with corrosive acid until your eyes and skin burn off, but you live for days, blind and in agony? These Nazi like tactics are being implemented right now in Australia and in some cases, encouraged by their government officials!!!!
Keep in mind that human ignorance is responsible for this problem, not the toads!. Perhaps the sugar cane industry, which is responsible for the problem, should be held accountable for correcting the problem, (but we all know how unethical big business industries are, so that isn't a realistic proposal either).
Now, some in Australia are talking about unleashing a virus that supposedly would only target bufo marinus and/or the tadpoles of bufo marinus. I am told this is only being proposed by a small group and that this is not likely to happen, but I cannot believe anyone would even consider it as an option even for a moment. They are taking about using biological control, gene manipulation and viruses! These idiots are so incredibly short sighted that they think they can control this, yet we all know you only need to watch a couple episodes of Star Trek or the Twilight Zone to figure out that this is a really bad idea! Viruses aimed at b.marinus will undoubtedly figure out how to mutate. They will kill the White Lipped Treefrogs and the Dumpy Treefrogs and many other native frogs and reptiles and who knows what else. And undoubtedly, these viruses will somehow end up in New Zealand and eventually other areas of the south Pacific and before long hit America and other continents. We live in a very small world.
Remember, it was the "brilliant" "genius" scientists in Australia who thought bringing a non-native, highly toxic species to their shores was a really good idea in the first place. But the severe consequences of their actions only effect the Australian continent. The use of viruses and biological control threatens every frog, toad and herpetile on the whole planet!
One group in Australia thinks that global climate change isn't as urgent as eliminating cane toads. The group's leader has actually been quoted by ABC news in Australia as saying that global warming MIGHT be a problem 50 years from now! Um, HELLO? Somebody give this idiot a copy of the DVD "Inconvenient Truth" and a copy of the special edition TIME magazine on the subject. Global climate change is a DIRE and serious issue that needs to be addressed NOW! Does this idiot have any idea that the Greenland ice sheet is melting many times faster than even predicted a few years ago? So this fool will drive around in his gas guzzling SUV or whatever and hunt toads everynight like a man obsessed when in fact, as global climate change becomes more severe and pronounced, the number of Australian native frogs who succumb to stuff like the chytrid fungus will far surpass anything the cane toads can do, and in fact, the toads might become victims themselves. Yet this jackass is advocating spending more than $2 million AU dollars on toad eradication and worry about global climate change AFTER its too late!
If I ran Australia, I would set to the immediate task of building a huge complex. Let's call it "Frog World". I would make it like a giant zoo for any animals who are in danger not only from Bufo Marinus but also from the global amphibian crisis which includes a deadly fungus and the impact of pollution and global climate change. I would collect many individuals of each threatened species and I would begin a breeding program. I would make the facility partially open to the public and I would have an admission charged so people could spend the day viewing glorious tanks with all the different frogs, toads and other species and their admission would help pay expenses on the facility. I would make the sugar cane industry pay for part of it, too as a penalty for their lack of vision and forsight that caused the cane toad problem in the first place. In this way, possibly endangered animals can live on and survive in a captive program. The animals would be housed in such completely realistic environments, that they would feel completely at ease. If such measures are not taken, what will happen? But then, governments never listen to reason until its too late. Luckily, the Amphibian Ark program is in existence to help some endangered amphibians by doing almost exactly what I describe above, but they're issues do not extend to aiding in the solution for the cane toad problem. Read more about the Ark Program to save endangered frogs and toads.
The web is not short on pages describing the history of the problem and its current status. You can look under "cane toad" or "bufo marinus" and get plenty of results and read up on the situation in depth, but briefly, bufo marinus was relocated from Central America to Australia, Hawaii and other areas where cane sugar crops grow in the hopes they would eat the cane beetles which reek havoc on crops. Cane toads can eat these beetles, but only if they can catch them first, and the beetles can fly away. The beetles larva could also be eaten by the toads but the toads didn't think they tasted all that good anyway. The toads did no good in controlling the beetle and in the end, left the cane fields. Because of their highly toxic bufo toxins, they have virtually no predators to prey on them and they multiplied and quickly overpopulated each new ecosystem they were introduced to, over-consuming and then moving on to greener pastures to spread out some more (just like humans!).
Soon labeled "pests" and "invasive", many people began blaming the toads for their presence in these foreign lands as though the toads themselves hopped a plane or boat and decided to relocate, conquer natives and steal their land (is this sounding familiar yet, White Australia, White America, White Africa, etc?).
Yes, the toads do eat other smaller amphibians and may be a threat to some local species. Furthermore, their toxins can poison dogs or cats who either catch the toads or drink from water dishes that the toads have soaked in. Because of these dangers and the fact that this species is so hardy, they have come to be loathed by many. Frankly, its a case of blaming the victim!
Sadly, there are many sadistic people out there who actually take some sort of sick, perverse pleasure in murdering these animals in the cruelest, most painful manners imaginable. I've actually read posts by ignoramuses who gleefully proclaim the numbers of toads they've killed and how they did it! On one website from Australia, officials are asking people not to do this and to use humane methods. They have a picture of a toad who's eyes have been burned out with acid thrown onto the toad's face! The toad's one eye was completely missing from the socket and the other was scarred and useless. Unfortunately for the toad, he lived, which was a fate worse than death since not only was he in horrible pain, he could not see or hunt, obviously he'd either starve to death or be killed by a car or some other horrible demise. If you can stomach it, the information and pictures and suggestions on proper handling of the situation can be found at this address: http://www.fdrproject.org/pages/TDdispose.htm
We agree with the advice given in that article as well as this article: http://www.floridagardener.com/critters/BufoMarinus.htm and we ask that you read both pages.
It is also imperative that if you have a pet bufo marinus that you cannot keep for any reason, DO NOT RELEASE IT INTO THE WILD! Contact your local pet store or a zoo or a university, but never let it free outdoors. Keeping b. marinus is not allowed in some states unless you have a licence. California and Georgia, for example, restrict the keeping of this species, as well as bufo paracnemis (Rococo). Obviously, either species being from Central and South America would thrive in either state pretty well.
The bottom line here is that while we would never deny there is a problem, we feel it must be dealt with properly and humanely and never the less, we love bufo marinus here at toadilytoads.com and will always be happy to post a gallery of any b. marinus who would like to be featured. These toads are laid back and make great pets who can live between 10 and 15 years in captivity, maybe longer. You would have to mess with them pretty badly to get them to be angry enough to exude poison, so unless you have a dog or cat or small child that you are concerned about, and so long as its not restricted in your state, you might find these toads to make wonderful, hardy pets but be sure they're allowed where you live.