A cane toad was recently found at Urunga. Photo: Australian Reptile Park
A cane toad was recently found at Urunga. Photo: Australian Reptile Park

Locals urged to be on the lookout for cane toads

COFFS Coast residents are being urged to keep an eye out for cane toads after one of the poisonous amphibians was recently found beneath a bridge at Urunga.

Yamba has been regarded as the southern most point for cane toad infestations, but in isolated incidents the odd cane toad has been spotted on the Coffs Coast.

The toad found beneath Newry Island Bridge last week was brought into Midcoast Vets’ Urunga clinic, who then contacted the Department of Primary Industries.

“They have asked if locals could please keep an eye out for cane toads in the area.”

According to DPI, the toads not only carry diseases but are tough and adaptable, with the potential to devastate native wildlife and ecosystems.

They were introduced from Hawaii into Australia in 1935 to control scarab beetles that were pests of sugar cane.

Since then they have expanded west and south of Queensland, and spread to Yamba by 2003.

Cane toads are considered a pest in Australia because they can poison native animals, pets or injure humans with their toxins.

They can both prey on and compete with native fauna for food, and can transmit diseases to other frogs and fishes.

They also eat large numbers of honey bees creating management problems for bee-keepers.

Identifying a cane toad

According to DPI, many people struggle to tell the difference between a native frog and a cane toad. Here’s what to look out for:

- distinct bony ridges above the eyes which run down the snout

- a large parotoid gland behind each eye

- unwebbed hands, but webbed toes

- dry warty skin

- colour ranging from grey, yellow, red-brown or olive-brown with varying patterns.

How to identify a cane toad.
How to identify a cane toad.

If you find a cane toad, make sure it is not a native frog.

Wear gloves, glasses and long sleeves before touching it and watch out for poison.

When stressed they can ooze or squirt poison from glands behind the head.

Trap it in a well-ventilated, non-toxic container with a little water and submit a picture of it to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurityreport

DPI will confirm whether it is a cane toid and will let you know what to do next.



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