Rangers conducting track work in Conway National Park, near Airlie Beach, were shocked to find a monster cane toad beside the Conway Circuit last week.
Ranger Kylee Gray said a snake slithering across the track forced them to stop their vehicle, and when she stepped out and looked down, she gasped when she saw the monster cane toad.
“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” Ms Gray said.
“We dubbed it Toadzilla, and quickly put it into a container so we could remove it from the wild.
“A cane toad that size will eat anything it can fit into its mouth, and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals.
“We believe it’s a female due to the size, and female cane toads do grow bigger than males. When we returned to base, she weighed in at 2.7kg, which could be a new record.
“She was found at an elevation of 393m, which isn’t unusual, but she has created a lot of interest among our ranger staff due to her size.
I’m not sure how old she is, but cane toads can live up to fifteen years in the wild – so this one has been around a long time. We’re pleased to have removed her from the national park.
“The Queensland Museum is interested in taking her, as she might be the largest on record.”
Cane toad fast facts:
- Introduced into Queensland in 1935 to control the cane beetle
- Recognised by the Commonwealth Government as a key threatening process to the nation under the national Environment Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999
- Obtains a large size, up to 26cm and weighing 2.5kg, but specimens of this size are rare
- Female cane toads can produce up to 30,000 eggs in a season
- Colonise a wide range of habitats – though not widely spread through rainforests, but will penetrate these areas along roads and walking tracks (as per this find)
- Can be fatally poisonous to wildlife – have caused local extinctions of some of their predators
- Compete with native species for sheltering sites and food resources
- While they primarily feed on insects, they are opportunists and will also take small vertebrates.
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