Susan Muller has snapped photos of a snake killed while trying to eat a cane toad in her Woree garden. Picture: SUSAN MULLER
Susan Muller has snapped photos of a snake killed while trying to eat a cane toad in her Woree garden. Picture: SUSAN MULLER

Hungry snake meets end after taking on cane toad

A HUNGRY snake has been photographed by a local wildlife enthusiast biting off more than it can swallow.

Quite literally, the snake - after capturing a cane toad in its mouth - succumbed to the toxin contained in sacks behind the amphibian's head.

A common tree snake had bitten off more than it can chew by trying to swallow a cane toad. Picture: SUSAN MULLER
A common tree snake had bitten off more than it can chew by trying to swallow a cane toad. Picture: SUSAN MULLER


Peter Shanahan, a Kuranda biologist specialising in the study of tropical fauna, identified the snake as a slaty grey.

"He would be eating it and the rear fangs are meant to stun and knock the prey out," he said.

That was to stop prey boring through the side because the snake was not very thick, he said.

"An animal could get out of the snake by chewing its way through."

He said for this reason common tree snakes used a mild toxin to immobilise prey prior to swallowing.

Mr Shanahan said one species of snake, the keelback, was commonly known to be immune to cane toad toxin, while other animals had learnt to prey on toxic toads by eating around the glands responsible for containing the poison.

The photos were taken by Susan Muller on Wednesday morning in the garden of her Woree home.

"It has definitely bitten off more than it can chew," she said.

Ms Muller said she felt bad for the snake, killed by an introduced pest while trying to get a feed.

"Wildlife always excite me, unfortunately this one was dead."

Ms Muller said both the snake and the toad ended up dead.



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