Watergum Cane Toads

Help reduce Cane Toad numbers through tadpole trapping and toad busting


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!

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 their enormous appetites and staggering breeding capabilities (females cane produce up to 70,000 eggs a year!) meant they quickly monopolised habitat and food resources to the detriment of native species. 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 it is important that we band together as a community and start impacting cane toads before they spread any further.



Watch our video introduction to learn about Watergum Cane Toads


More information and Resources

Community events and education sessions

If you want to get involved with the Watergum Cane Toad program you may wish to come along to some of our local events.

Upcoming events

Tadpole trapping

Watergum Cane Toads targets cane toad tadpoles by tempting them into traps using lures made from cane toad pheromones. Lab processed ensure that the lures are safe to use in waterways 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!

You can then count your catch using standard scientific counting methods and upload your data to our database. Help us to better understand cane toad populations by contributing your data!

Toad Busting

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.

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 Watergum Cane Toads 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 everyone to follow our code of ethics with regard 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.

Toads that have been euthanised is any other way can not be used for tadpole lure production.

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 Watergum Cane Toads program 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 we will help you every step of the way.

Before you begin trapping, we strongly recommend that you read through the instruction manual or complete our free online course. Tadpole trapping is very simple but there are a couple of thing that if done incorrectly, will render your trapping efforts completely ineffective.

The free online course will tell you everything you need to know about cane toads, as well and detailing all the specifics of tadpole trapping and cane toad busting.

Keep an eye on our calendar for informational events, community toad busting and further training opportunities.

Native frog or cane toad? ID at all life stages

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.

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. Frogs are one of the most threatened groups of animals on Earth so we must do all we can to help preserve them.

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 below 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.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/canetoadchallenge

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, if flash frozen, the 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 canetoads@watergum.org 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 canetoads@watergum.org

Data entry and databases

The Watergum Cane Toads program is very new, however the success it is already having is very exciting. In order to monitor how well the program is doing, we love to receive your data.

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!

No need to enter your name or address, we just want to know your suburb. The program 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.

Toad busting data entry and database
Historic data
Report card 2019/2020
Cane toad news, media and communication

Join out cane toad facebook group to share your results, swap tips and experiences with other cane toad busters, ask for help with ID and keep up to date with all the cane toad news.

Email us with and questions and queries

Click here for cane toads in the news

The map below shows you which suburbs have joined the fight against cane toads


This program is supported the City of Gold Coast, Landcare Australia, Tweed Shire Council and City of Logan