Friday, February 19, 2010

Death to cane toads with pet food

A Little post dedicated to my Queensland friends. I wouldn't normally make suggestions about the killing of animals but I know how much of a problem and pest these feral creatures are to our Australian wildlife, and these pests must be controlled.

Cane toads were originally introduced to Australia in the 1930's from Hawaii to control all the beetles that were damaging sugar cane plantations. The little buggers were unsuccessful at eradicating the beetles in Australia , as the cane fields were not good shelter for the came toad.. The cane toads bred from the 100 or so that were originally introduced and became pests themselves. They are very successful at eating smaller native animals and poisoning larger predators that try to eat them. Household pets are also at risk from poisoning.

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Death to cane toads with pet food

Cane toads could be eliminated with the help of tinned pet food
  • Ant swarm can kill baby toads
  • 'It's not exactly rocket science'
  • Nation beset by millions of toads
AUSTRALIA'S poisonous plague of cane toads finally met its match in a can of cat food.
After years spent trying to batter, gas, run over and even freeze the toxic toads out of existence, scientists said just a dollop of cat food could stop the warty horde.
The cat food attracts Australia's carnivorous meat ants, which swarm over and munch on baby toads, killing 70 per cent of them.
"It's not exactly rocket science," University of Sydney professor Rick Shine told national broadcaster ABC.
"We went out and put out a little bit of cat food right beside the area where the baby toads were coming out of the ponds.
"The ants rapidly discovered the cat food and thought it tasted great.
"The worker ants then leave trails back to the nest encouraging other ants to come out there and forage in that area, and within a very short period of time we got lots of ants in the same area as the toads are," he said.
Australia was beset by millions of cane toads after they were introduced from Hawaii in 1935 to control scarab beetles.
The toads - which are prolific maters, eat anything, are incredibly tough and secrete poison that kills pets and wildlife and injures humans - prompted several initially unsuccessful campaigns to wipe them out.
"Even the ones that don't die immediately, die within a day or so of being attacked," Professor Shine said, adding that native frogs were able to dodge the hungry ants.
"It's a simple, low-risk way of reducing the number of baby toads coming out of those ponds."


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