Australian rangers have killed an invasive “monster” cane toad discovered in the wilds of a coastal park – a warty brown specimen as long as a human arm and weighing 2.7 kilograms (6 pounds).
Ranger Kylee Gray was travelling through the park last week when a snake slithering across a path forced her vehicle to stop. Stepping out of the vehicle, Gray said she was confronted by a cane toad whose sheer size made her gasp.
Gray said in a statement that she reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was
It was dubbed Toadzilla and quickly put it into a container so it could be removed from the wild, she said.
A cane toad that size will eat anything it can fit into its mouth and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals, Gray said, adding that Toadzilla was believed to be a female.
The enormous size of the toad, which was discovered at an elevation of 393 metres (1,289 feet), has led to much interest among park rangers and further afield.
The Queensland Museum is interested in taking her as she might be the largest on record. Cane toads can live for up to 15 years.
Toadzilla’s life was cut short, however. A news network reported on Friday that the toad was “euthanised” and was due to be sent to the Queensland Museum in Brisbane.
Cane toads are a non-native species introduced to Australia in 1935 – from South and Central America – to control pest beetles in Queensland’s sugarcane industry before the use of agricultural chemicals.
They are capable of poisoning predators that try to eat them and “there is no broadscale way to control” cane toads, which are now found throughout northern Australia and are moving westward at an estimated range of 40 to 60 km (approximately 25 to 37 miles) per year, according to the Australian government.
Female cane toads can produce up to 30,000 eggs in a season.
Video Credit: Australian Community Media