Cane Toad (Rhinella marina)
(old scientific name: Bufo marinus)
Southern USA to tropical South America
5 -15 years
Up to 15cm
Dependant on your geographical location but generally September to March (depending on environmental conditions). For example, the 2019 breeding season on the Gold Coast started much later due to a long period of drought. But once the rains came, the toads made up for lost time!
The female toad can lay 8,000 – 35,000 eggs per clutch and can lay up to two clutches a year. That is up to 70,000 eggs each year!
Cane toads use the breeding behaviour, axillary amplexus. This is an amphibious breeding technique where the male will cling to the females’ back, hooking his front feet into a specially designed groove in her armpits which ensures he can hang on tight and prompts her to enter the water and release her eggs. He then remains on her back and fertilises the eggs as she lays them. She can lay up to 35,000 eggs per clutch (In comparison, most Australian native frogs lay 1000-2000 eggs per clutch). In South America, cane toads have many predators which have had millions of years to evolve immunity to cane toad toxin. Laying large clutches ensure that at least two cane toads will evade the predators and survive into adulthood, however in Australia, most native species will be poisoned if they try to eat cane toads so the majority of each clutch will survive due to a lack of natural predators.
-Eggs – 24-72 hours
This only gives you a short window to find and remove them so make sure you check your ponds and dams regularly as this is the easiest life-stage to control.
-Tadpoles – 3 to 20 weeks, depending on conditions
Tadpoles will take at least 3 weeks to grow into froglets and leave the water. In poor conditions such as low temperatures, tadpoles will simply halt their development and remain tadpoles for longer.
-Sexual maturity – 1 year to 18 months
A toad of this age can still be relatively small. We have found a number of 4cm toads to be full off eggs. This highlights how important it is to catch every toad you see and remove it from the environment.