Toad Hunters Offered Beer Bounty, say ABC

The RSPCA's (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) spokesman* wisely advises the need for a bigger freezer and more funding, in light of a Cairns hotelier's offer to shout two beers for every bag of cane toads brought in. That's because there are millions of the things swarming across the Australian countryside. Originally introduced to Queensland as a biological control for sugar cane beetles, 100 or so toads promptly walked off the job and set out to conquer a nation. Now the Australian Museum reckons, "Cane Toads occupy more than 500,000 square kilometres of Australia and have reached densities of 2,000 toads per hectare in newly-colonised areas of the Northern Territory." And they've done this by being rapacious spawners, with an inbuilt toxicity that kills animals that try to eat them. According to the Frog Decline Reversal Project website, "They breed like flies, as the saying goes. Each pair of cane toads can lay 33,000 eggs per spawning (some published references estimate they produce as much as 60,000 eggs!). Fish who eat toadpoles die. Animals who eat toad adults die. The museums have plenty of snakes preserved in jars which were killed by toad toxin so fast, the toad is still in their mouths unswallowed. Captive cane toads will allegedly eat everything from dog food to mice and they keep growing until they reach 25cm in length and over 4 kilos." So this plan to beat 'em with beer, is a bewdy. (Just don't give even a lemonade to any toad that brings in a quoll or freshwater crocodile that they've killed.) ::ABC Online.* The humane way to see a cane toad off is to put them in, say, an old ice cream tub, cool them down in the fridge, and then freeze them. Kills 'em stone cold dead! (having first correctly identified that it is indeed a toad, and not some lovely, local kermit.)

Image is of Dazza, a character from the movie Cane Toad.