Caribbean cane toad problems

This video says about itself:

A huge cane toad weighing nearly a kilogram has been found in Darwin in northern Australia.

From BBC News 27/03/07.

From the BBC:

Cane toad threat spreads beyond Australia to Caribbean

By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

Cane toads, one of the world’s most destructive invasive species, have started killing native wildlife outside of Australia.

Cane toads are poisonous, secreting a toxin that kills predators not adapted to eat them, and as a result the toads have caused a decline in native Australian reptiles and marsupials.

Now scientists have discovered that the toads are also killing boa snakes in the West Indies, suggesting that other predators in the Caribbean and elsewhere may also be at risk.

The cane toad is a large toad species, which secretes a powerful bufogenin toxin.

Its native range extends from northern South America through Central America and into the southern United States.

In the early to mid 19th Century, the toad was intentionally introduced to islands in the Caribbean, including Jamaica in 1844, and then through the South Pacific.

The toad was introduced to eat and control pests of sugar cane, including rats and beetles.

However, the toad has had a destructive impact in many places where it has spread, out-competing native species.

More recently, the toad has devastated populations of amphibian predators, including large lizards, snakes and marsupials, in Australia.

The threat there continues to grow as the toads spread west across the country from Queensland into New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

Cane toads are so prevalent in Australia that people in the Australian state of Queensland have even taken part in a mass capture of the poisonous amphibians, as part of a collective effort at pest control.

Threat widens

Now scientists have documented the cane toad killing rare native fauna in the Carribean.

Dr Byron Wilson, at the University of West Indies in Jamaica, and his colleagues there and in the US have found numerous examples of cane toads poisoning Jamaican boas (Epicrates subflavus), large predatory snakes that are endemic to the island of Jamaica.

The boa, also known as the yellow snake, is Jamaica’s top native terrestrial predator.

Already rare, the snake is threatened by habitat destruction and introduced dogs and pigs.

“To our knowledge, this is the first report of cane toads causing mortality in naturally occurring predators outside of Australia,” say the authors in the journal Biological Invasions.

“Although cane toads have been present on Jamaica for more than 160 years, it is clear from our observations that Jamaican boas have not yet learnt to avoid this toxic prey species.”

The researchers now fear that the toads could pose a threat to the snake across its island range.

They also worry that other species in Jamaica and on other Caribbean islands are at risk from bufotoxin poisoning.

“Cane toad hitches ride into WA – Sydney Morning Herald“: here.

July 2010: Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is reminding people to remain vigilant following the discovery of a live cane toad inside a shed in Broome’s light industrial area. The cane toad was handed in this morning by a member of the public who captured the toad and alerted DEC officers in Broome: here.

IT COULD be one of the world’s most unfairly maligned creatures. Despite its invasion of Australia, the cane toad has not triggered the overwhelming ecological disaster that some predicted: here.

Cane toad takes over Australia — and then doesn’t – Mother Nature Network: here.

Cane toads killing off reptile predators – ABC Online: here.

Cane toad campaign turns attention to Australian reptiles – ABC Local: here.

Evolutionarily accelerated invasions: the rate of dispersal evolves upwards during the range advance of cane toads: here.

Cane toad tadpoles exposed as slavering cannibals: here.

Dr Mike Letnic, from the University of Western Sydney and colleagues, write in the international journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, that restricting cane toads’ access to surface water could halt their spread deeper into the Australian outback: here.

Speed and the mating habits of the Australian cane toad are set to expand the theory of evolution according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA: here.

Skin Fight: Could Bacteria Carried by Amphibians Save Them from Extinction? Here.

8 thoughts on “Caribbean cane toad problems

  1. If anyone in Down-Under could write to me in Up-Over about any news that my ideas are

    being tested or distributed as Comments which were submitted

    on how to catch Cane Toads to the CTAP, Cane Toad Abatement Plan
    could you PLEASE let me know.

    Also any feedback about any gov seeking ideas for catching crocs, wild pigs, wild dogs etc..

    From Canada, Kenneth Hilliam


  2. Cane toads threaten Ishigakijima ecosystem

    The Yomiuri Shimbun

    OKINAWA–Tens of thousands of cane toads have apparently spread throughout Ishigakijima island in Okinawa Prefecture, raising concerns about their impact on the ecosystem of the island’s indigenous organisms.

    Cane toads are 8 to 16 centimeters long, produce a strong toxin, are voracious eaters and have strong reproductive abilities. They lay up to 50,000 eggs at once.

    According to the Environment Ministry’s Ishigaki Ranger Office, about 30,000 to 50,000 cane toads are estimated to live across the island. The office is seeking islanders’ cooperation in capturing cane toads, due to concerns they may invade neighboring islands, such as Iriomotejima, which is home to critically endangered Iriomote wildcats.

    Several cane toads reportedly were brought to Ishigakijima island in 1978 to help exterminate the Anomala albopilosa scarab beetle, which is harmful to sugarcane.

    According to the Ishigaki Ranger Office, a cane toad consumes about 600 kilograms to one ton of food a month. This has led to fears of a drop in the number of cicadas and stag beetles, species native to the island.

    The increased number of cane toads also is likely to disturb the ecosystem of Utsunomiya’s tip-nosed frog, designated an endangered species in the Environment Ministry’s Red Data Book.

    When a cane toad feels threatened, it releases a milky white poison from the salivary glands beside its eyes. Humans are not harmed by touching the toxin, but if snakes or birds eat the toads, the poison can kill them.

    The ranger office began asking the island’s residents to become “cane toad hunters” in 2008, and 88 residents registered this year. In the hunting season from Sept. 18 through Oct.11, they captured a record number of about 6,500 cane toads.
    (Oct. 18, 2010)


  3. Cane toad killing off monitor lizards

    Daniel Bateman

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    © The Cairns Post

    ONE of the dreaded myna birds’ worst enemies is at risk of being killed by another pest.

    Lace monitors are voracious predators of Indian myna birds – the winged menaces in plague proportions across Cairns.

    Unfortunately, local wildlife carers said the reptiles were unable to gorge themselves their regular diet of myna bird eggs, as the lizards were increasingly falling victim to cane toad poison.

    They are urging residents to do what they can to remove toads from their yards, in order to keep lace monitors around to help control rising myna bird populations.

    A 1m long lizard was rescued from a Parra-
    matta Park yard about three weeks ago by Cairns Snake Removals owner David Walton, after residents reported the large lizard had been acting strangely.

    Mr Walton said it appeared the animal had eaten a cane toad.

    “The goanna has been regularly spotted in the yard for the last four years,’’ Mr Walton said.

    “The residents, however, watched it fall backwards out of a tree, like it was drunk. I came and picked it up and took it to the vet.’’

    Despite many injections of anti-
    biotics and plenty of food and water, the lace monitor has lost half of its normal weight in the past three weeks.

    Mr Walton said he was stunned by how much the poison had affected the lace monitor. “With these guys, they are normally extremely fast,’’ he said.

    “Previous goannas I’ve handled, you grab them, you bleed.

    “This fella’s not there at all.’’

    The lizard will continue to be cared for by wildlife carers until it can be released back into the wild.

    Mr Walton urged residents to remove cane toads from their properties. “We can avoid incidents like this if people clean up cane toads from their yard.’’


  4. Black spined toad is a bigger threat than cane toad, say officials

    * Brian Williams
    * From: The Courier-Mail
    * November 08, 2010 8:20AM

    QUARANTINE staff want people returning to Australia from visits to Asia to be on the lookout for toads in their shoes.

    Not just any old toads but warty, black-spined critters that have the potential to become established in Australia.

    The amphibians nearly as big as their cousin the cane toad also love to sneak into hand luggage and hide in and around shipping containers.

    They also are known as the common asian toad and have a nasty reputation as an invasive species, having spread closer and closer to Australia since the 1920s.

    Black spined toads compete with native frogs and toads for food and habitat and can carry exotic parasites or diseases. Like cane toads, they also secrete poison from glands in their backs to ward off predators.

    Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service northern region scientific manager James Walker said yesterday about 20 toads had been found in the past decade although it was not clear if any had slipped through.

    ”They certainly haven’t become established in Australia,” he said.

    Mr Walker said as the toads migrated south through Asia from China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia and West Papua, the risk increased to Australia.

    ”They travel well (on ships),” he said. ”They are very tough and can handle sitting for long periods. They do not need much water for a long time. They are fairly large and have good energy reserves, allowing them to travel.”

    Mr Walker said the prime time for them to be on the move was the wet season and it was relatively simple for inbound travellers to check luggage and shoes for the hitchhikers.

    In May two were found at the Cairns port in the hold of a freight ship that had travelled to Cairns from West Papua.

    AQIS officers also found the toads in Sydney in 2007 and 2008, including on a flight from Thailand when one was found in a shoe. About six have been found in shoes in the past two years.

    Thailand has been the main country of origin, particularly when shoes are left outside accommodation and then packed away.

    They also have been found in shipping containers from Fiji and Indonesia.
    Why this unwelcome visitor is so nasty

    * The black spined toad is found in China, southern Asia, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia.
    * It is related to the cane toad and has no natural predators in Australia.
    * It is potentially more damaging than the cane toad because it could establish in cooler southern states.
    * It competes with native frogs and toads for food and habitats and is likely to carry exotic parasites or diseases.
    * Adults are similar to the cane toad, although not as big. It has short brown to black spines on the upper body and sides.
    * It can hide in shipping containers, machinery and personal effects such as bags, boxes and cartons.
    * It likes to shelter in dark, moist areas such as shoes.

    Source: AQIS


  5. Pingback: Dead cane toads still poisonous | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  7. Pingback: Invasive cane toads stopped in Australia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Dead cane toads still poisonous | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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