The residents of New South Wales, Australia are gearing up for wet weather the best way they know how: Galoshes, bug repellent and by gathering up all of the baby cane toads that they can. The recent deluge of wet weather in the area has provided the perfect breeding grounds for cane toads, and the more of the introduced pests that the locals can round up, the better.
Cane toads are a South American species that was brought to Australia in 1935 to control the native cane beetles, which were a common pest for sugar cane farmers. They are a large, bumpy and brown amphibian species that eats nearly any animal matter that it can get ahold of, including insects, frogs, lizards, as well as small birds and mammals. Their wide ranging and voracious appetites, ability to lay up to 35,000 eggs at once, and highly toxic glands that can kill most natural predators that dare to ingest the sturdy cane toad make this creature a serious problem to the locals, their pets and the native wildlife.
While many residents would be fine solving the cane toad problem with a series of riding lawnmower races, the team of toad-wrangling helpers making up Conservation Volunteers Australia are patiently catching as many as possible to limit the size of their range. Last year, Conservation Volunteers Australia has managed to take over 50,000 cane toads out of the wild. (Wow!) If you’re asking what someone would do with thousands of toxic toads, they are taken to Dr. Scott Wilson at CQUniversity for research purposes. Best of luck with taking down the Toadbusting, Conservation Volunteers Australia!