When you live in Cairns, there is one animal that you are most certainly going to come across, the cane toad.
Cane toads are everywhere and although there are reports that their numbers are on the decline, cane toads are in plentiful numbers, wherever you go. Originally introduced to Australia from Hawaii in 1935 as an attempt to control the cane beetle, the cane toad population exploded, now numbering over 200 million and with it, a massive ecological affect.
Cane toads are considered a pest. Most predators in Australia have not had the time to evolve to survive the toxins that cane toads secrete, hence they have had a devastating effect on Australian fauna. Although some animals (such as a bird called the Black Kite) have learnt how to consume the toads without exposing themselves to the toxins, most Australian fauna are at risk and many perish due to the consumption of the toads.
A very surreal experience you will probably encounter if you live in Cairns is when you drive on a warm night with rain. The cane toads get out on the road in their tens of thousands. The popping sound as you run over dozens or sometimes hundreds of them is remarkably similar to when you pop large bubble wrap.
At the moment there is no effective method to control the population of cane toads in Australia, however recent breakthroughs in 2012 could provide a solution to this iconic Far North Queensland pest.
Tips and Tricks
If you see a cane toad, capture it and put it in a container. Pop the container in the freezer and leave it overnight. It is the most humane way to dispose of a cane toad and considered much better than a game of cane toad cricket.
Don’t leave stagnant water laying around in the yard. Cane toads will breed in anything, so don’t give them a helping hand.
If you see cane toad tadpoles, remove them from their habitat to kill the breeding cycle.