Giant cane toad found in Australia

Published: Monday 30 April 2007

-- (Credit: FROG WATCH)A giant cane toad (Bufo marinus), the size of a small dog, has been caught in Australia's Northern Territory. The specimen, weighing 861 grammes, twice the normal weight, has startled environmentalists who are working to contain this poisonous amphibian across the country.

It is the biggest ever found, says Frog Watch, an Australian environmental group that aims to capture and kill cane toads, one of Australia's gravest ecological blunders. Introduced from Hawaii in 1935 to control cane beetles, a sugarcane pest, the toads have multiplied to more than 200 million and outcompeted native species. A study published in the Royal Society's journal Proceedings notes that cane toads are adapting to warmer climates and multiplying at a much faster rate than previously believed. They occupy about 1.2 million sq km in northeast Australia. That is likely to increase to 2 million sq km.

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