Cane toad?s no prince



IF you happen to stumble across one while traipsing through the woods forget all about those mesmerising fairytales you were told as a wide-eyed child.

There's simply no happy ending for anything that comes into contact with the likes of this ugly-looking, warty amphibian found at Searle Avenue at Boambee this week.

Believed to have hitched a ride down the highway, this pestulant cane toad is the ninth found in Coffs Harbour local government area in the past six months.

While Coffs Coast can count itself lucky, at this stage, not having a breeding population of its own, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is ever vigilant to keep the toad at bay.

Fortunately there is no such thing at a pregnant female.

With fertilisation occurring externally a male and female must be present for reproduction to occur.

National Parks and Wildlife Service's senior ranger Tim Scanlon said such finds were a worry.

"If people believe they have found a cane toad it is important to have it properly identified as some native frogs, including threatened species, have been killed after being mistaken for cane toads," he said.

"Any suspected cane toad should be caught and taken to the nearest NPWS office for identification. It is important to only handle cane toads with rubber gloves.

"A cane toad's dry warty skin is loaded with toxic compounds; particularly in the large glands located behind their head and this is a major threat to both native animals and domestic pets as the toxins kills anything that eats it.

"Once established they can spread quickly.

"A female cane toad can deposit up to 30,000 eggs at a time, and may lay several times over the warmer months."

If you believe you have found a cane toad in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen or Nambucca areas report it to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, phone 6652 0900.

Useful information on cane toad identification and calls can be obtained from the website www.national parks.nsw.gov.au.



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