Help reduce Cane Toad numbers through tadpole trapping and toad busting
102 cane toads were brought to Queensland in 1935 in an attempt to control cane beetles which were decimating crops. Thanks to their ability to poison potential predators and their incredible breeding capacity they are now well established in 4 states and their numbers exceed 2 billion.
Cane toads present a serious threat to native species and to pets and since each female can produce up to 70,000 tadpoles each year, it is important that we band together as a community to control them.
We want to introduce you to 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!
Keep reading to learn about the technology, perfect your ID skills and to find out how you can get involved.
Future Toads Prevented
Watch our video introduction to learn about the Watergum Cane Toads program
More information and Resources
Watergum Cane Toads targets cane toad tadpoles by tempting them into traps using lures made from cane toad pheromones. Lab processes ensure that the lures are safe to use in waterways and don’t harm 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!
Just place a trap in the pond, dam or waterway on your property and leave it to work its magic. When you come back later you’ll find your trap full of cane toad tadpoles!
Toad busting is just as important as tadpole trapping and still remains one of the most successful methods of cane toad control.
Toad busting is the hand-collection and removal of adult toads from the environment.
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.
Toad busting is also essential to maintain tadpole trapping as we use your frozen toads for lure production. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange collection/delivery.
Cane Toad or Native Frog?
When you start your cane toad control measures, it is so important that your ID skills are up to scratch. One of the reasons we are doing this is to protect and reclaim habitat for native species, especially frogs! So it’s super important that you don’t accidentally cull any frog spawn, frog tadpoles or frogs. If you are unsure, leave it alone!
Please read through our ID page to make sure you are fully aware of the difference between frogs and cane toads at all life stages.
A Crash Course in Cane Toads
Before you commence any cane toad control activities, we strongly suggest that you complete our FREE online course.
It should take you approximately 2 -3 hours to complete and will tell you everything you need to know about the cane toads, tadpole trapping and much, much more.
Although tadpole trapping is relatively simple, there are a few things that you absolutely must get right or you won’t have any success. It is not one of those activities where you can skip the instructions. When everything is done correctly you can remove thousands from your waterbody with relative ease.
Click on the link below to go to Watergum’s Online Classroom. You may complete courses at your leisure.
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 everyone to euthanise cane toads in the most humane way currently recognised which is available to the general public – the cooling and freezing method.
Refrigerate 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, meaning 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 humane and inhumane methods of cane toad euthanasia, click on the link below.
Upcoming Events and Additional Resources
Watergum regularly holds tadpole trapping information sessions and community toad busting sessions in Logan, Gold Coast and the Tweed Shire.
You can keep up to date with upcoming events by clicking on the link below to navigate to the Watergum calendar.
We also recommend that you take a look at some of the following resources to boost your knowledge of native frogs!
Which suburbs are active in cane toad control?
Frequently Asked Questions
If you would like to register to be on our tadpole trap mailing list, then please fill in your details in the form above and we will keep you up to date
Can I buy a tadpole trap?
Our program is currently undergoing some big changes as we are taking over from the University of Queensland and rolling out nationally. As we are still in this limbo process, we don’t currently have tadpole traps available, however we are hoping our new trap model will be ready in time for the main breeding season. We are currently taking registrations for anyone interested in purchasing a tadpole trap. You can register your details using the form at the top of this page and we’ll make sure to keep you up to date!
What can I do while I wait for my trap?
While you are waiting for the tadpole traps to become available you can already start toad busting, collecting adult cane toads before they have a chance to breed. Toad busting is imperative for successful cane toad control and is highly effective. Adult female toads can lay up to 70,000 eggs each season, so imagine how many new toads you can eliminate through toad busting by catching them before they get to this stage! Through regular toad busting you can eliminate your resident toads and then you only have to deal with transients passing through your property.
What if I missed the season?
The cane toad season goes from September – April so there is plenty of time for all kinds of toad elimination. Tadpole eggs are laid throughout the season so you can start looking in your waterbodies for eggs from September onwards. One adult female can lay two clutches each season, with up to 35,000 eggs in each clutch. These clutches happen at different times of the season so if you miss the first clutch then don’t worry you can still catch them for the second. Make sure to join the Watergum Cane Toads Facebook group to keep updated throughout the season and ask any questions you have.
How can I learn more about cane toad control?
Watergum has a completely free online course you can do; it is not a requirement although we strongly advise you to work your way through it before you begin your cane toad control efforts. It should take around 2 hours and will tell you everything you need to know about cane toads, cane toad control and how to use the tadpole traps correctly.
Follow the link to start the free course: http://watergum.org/courses/watergum-cane-toads/
We also run a number of informative workshops and toad busting events over cane toad season. Follow the Watergum Facebook page to stay up to date with events in your area.
What do I do with the toads once I’ve caught them?
In order to be donated to the Watergum Cane Toads program for lure production, cane toads must be euthanised using the fridge/freezer method. Watergum insists on this for humane reasons and is also necessary to make sure that the lures remain water-safe. Pop your toads in the fridge (in a dedicated container) for 8 – 24 hours. The cold temperatures cause them to slip into a coma, killing their brain activity. The bigger they are and the more of them there are together, the longer this will take. You can tell they have slipped into a coma as their legs will splay out. Next, transfer them to the freezer.
PLEASE DON’T FREEZE YOUR TOADS INSTANTLY!
Firstly, this is a very inhumane and painful process for the toads. Ice crystals form in their veins and it is very painful. Secondly, improperly frozen toads can actually come back to life when they are defrosted, an amphibian magic trick! Believe us (and our poor intern who was dissecting the glands for us!) we have seen it happen a couple of times, and it is very distressing for us, and for the toads.
How can I drop off toads?
If you have some frozen cane toads for us, please email us at email@example.com to arrange delivery at one of our drop-off points.
As we are preparing for this cane toad season, we are currently setting up several fridge/freezer community drop off points. These points will be located in Logan, Gold Coast and the Tweed Shire. Once we have locked in these points we will announce the locations via email so make sure you have registered your details to be in the know.
If you have any more questions about cane toads please don’t hesitate to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org
This program is supported the City of Gold Coast, Landcare Australia, Tweed Shire Council and City of Logan