Cane Toad Challenge Gold Coast

Help reduce Cane Toad numbers on the Gold Coast

The Cane Toad Challenge is a revolutionary new method of cane toad control that uses the toad’s own toxins against them. Lures made from toxic cane toad glands tempt tadpoles into traps that can catch upwards of 4000 in one go!

102 cane toads were brought to Queensland in 1935 in an attempt to control cane beetles which were decimating crops. The toads proved completely ineffective at controlling cane beetles but they found plenty more to each and plenty of room to breed! Since then cane toads have spread across 4 states and their numbers have increased to over 2 billion.

Cane toads present a serious threat to native species and to pets. Each life-stage is highly toxic and their enormous appetites and staggering breeding capabilities (females cane produce up to 70,000 eggs a year!) mean they monopolise habitat and food resources to the detriment of native species.

It is important that we band together as a community and start impacting cane toads before they spread any further.

Results for the 2019/2020 financial year

Number of tadpoles caught

48,111

Number of toads caught

4587

Future toads prevented

922,215,000

How does the Cane Toad Challenge Work?

Tadpole trapping

When you sign up as a member of Watergum’s Cane Toad Challenge, Watergum will supply you with a tadpole trap and tadpole lures. The lures are made from toxic cane toad glands that have been whipped up in a lab to remove all the harmful chemicals. This makes them safe to use in waterways and we can use them to lure tadpoles into our trap without harming other wildlife. Frog tadpoles have no interest in the scent of the lure, but cane toad tadpoles find them irresistible because they smell exactly like cane toad spawn, which they would usually eat!

Members place a trap in the pond, dam or waterway on their property and leave it to work its magic. When they come back later they find their trap full of cane toad tadpoles!

They then use standard scientific counting methods to count their catch and upload their data to our database.

Toad Busting

Toad busting is just as important as tadpole trapping and still remains one of the most successful methods of cane toad control.

Female cane toads can lay up to 70,000 eggs per year, so removing fertile adults from the environment prevents hundreds of thousands of future toads.

We also need your frozen toads for lure production. Each toad can be turned into up to 50 lures! Toad busting is absolutely essential for the continuation of the Cane Toad Challenge program.

Do you have some frozen toads for us? Email us at canetoads@watergum.org to arrange collection/delivery.

Humane euthanasia

Here at Watergum, we only believe in the humane and ethical treatment of animals, even if they are an invasive species. Cane toads deserve to be treated kindly and humanely, after all it is not their fault they are on the wrong continent, they were put here by US!

Watergum requires all CTC members to follow their code of ethics with regards to cane toad euthanasia which requires cane toads to be euthanised in the most humane way currently recognised which is available to the general public – the cooling and freezing method.

The cooling and freezing method involves refrigerating toads for up to 24 hours before transferring them to the freezer. The period of refrigeration causes the toads to slip peacefully into a coma, rendering then brain-dead. This means that they suffer no pain when they are later frozen.

Toads that are frozen straight away experience great pain as ice crystals form in their veins. To read the science behind the freezing and cooling method, as well as other inhumane methods of euthanasia, click on the link below.

How do I get involved

If you would like to get involved with the Cane Toad Challenge either through tadpole trapping or toad busting, please email us at canetoads@watergum.org.

We are thrilled that you have decided to do something about cane toads and will help you every step of the way.

Before we issue you with a trap you will need to complete an induction. Tadpole trapping is very simple but you do need to be educated in how to do it properly otherwise your efforts will be completely ineffective.

The induction will give you a crash course in cane toads, as well and covering all the specifics of tadpole trapping and cane toad busting, and the Cane Toad Challenge program itself.

Keep an eye on our events calendar for a Cane Toad Challenge induction, or if you live on the Gold Coast, you can complete it online.

Data entry and databases

The Cane Toad Challenge is very new, however the success it is already having is very exciting. In order to monitor how well the program is doing, we collect data from our members.

This data helps us to monitor seasonal and geographical population trends. We are also constantly learning and improving the program based on your feedback and observations, so if you have been trapping tadpoles or toad busting, PLEASE upload your data!

Names and addressed are confidential, we primarily want to know your suburb. The Cane Toad Challenge has a much bigger impact when neighbours are all working together so we are keen to track how much impact is being made in each suburb.

You can upload and view data by clicking on the links below.

Tadpole data entry and database

Toad busting data entry and database
Historic data
2019/2020
Report card 2019/2020
Cane toad results mapping

Take a look at out member map. Green suburbs are well represented but yellow and red suburbs could use some more help from their neighbours.

Click on each suburb to see how many toads and tadpoles they have caught

Additional resources

Frog or Toad? Native Frog ID
Join our Cane Toad group
Latest news and research
Cane toad mapping

This program is supported the City of Gold Coast, Cane Toad Challenge and Nerang Men’s Shed