FAQ

Tadpole Trapping FAQ
Why do the lures work?

Cane toad tadpoles in Australia display cannibalistic tendencies, seeking out other cane toad eggs to eat and consuming entire clutches. They are attracted to the cane toad eggs by a pheromone (chemical cue).

The pheromone that attracts the tadpoles is a component of bufotoxin, which is present in cane toads at all life stages. This is the toxin contained within the cane toads poison (paratoid) glands.

This pheromone is the active ingredient in the Watergum Cane Toad Tadpole Lures. The lure slowly releases the pheromone when placed in the water. This creates a ‘scent plume’, which cane toad tadpoles follow into the trap.

The lures are an environmentally friendly, humane solution. They are scientifically proven to be only attractive to cane toad tadpoles, and do not impact native frog species.

Are Watergum's Cane Toad Tadpole Lures safe?

The lures are formulated to contain the pheromone at a controlled level that is environmentally safe. However, bufotoxin may cause irritation when in direct contact with the skin. Watergum recommends wearing gloves when handling lures and cane toads, and avoiding direct contact with the skin.

Lures are a choking hazard. Do not ingest or inhale. Seek medical attention immediately if lures are ingested or inhaled. 

Keep out of reach of children and pets.

How long should I leave the trap in my waterbody?

The exact amount of time you need to leave your trap in the water to catch your cane toad swarm will vary depending on the size of your waterbody, distance of the trap to cane toad tadpoles, age of the tadpoles, weather conditions etc.

As a general guide, we recommend leaving your trap for 4-8 hours. For your first few trapping sessions we recommend regularly checking the trap (every 1-2 hours) to see how long it takes for your cane toad tadpole swarm to enter the trap.

If you have native frog tadpoles or other potential bycatch species mixed in with your cane toad tadpoles, we recommend again minimizing your trapping time to 2-3 hours. Native tadpoles will avoid the scent plume, but if traps are placed in a confined area natives may swim in accidentally. To minimize impacts to bycatch avoid trapping in very hot conditions (midday) and remove from your trap before euthanising cane toad tadpoles.

I'm not catching as many tadpoles as I expected, what am I doing wrong?

There are several variables in the field that can impact your results when using Watergum’s Cane Toad Tadpole Trap and Lures. Here are some conditions to watch for that will increase your efficiency while trapping.

  1. Check that you’re using the trap correctly. Brush up on our instructions here.
  2. Wash your trap thoroughly after each use. Cane toad tadpoles release a chemical cue when stressed that will deter other tadpoles from entering the trap next time. Washing your trap inside and out after each use is essential to making sure your trapping is successful!
  3. Water movement. Cane toad tadpoles find their way into the trap through following a scent plume released by the lure. Water currents, pond filters and water fountains will disrupt the scent plume and impact your success.Place your trap in an area where the water will not be disturbed by children or animals. Always turn off water fountains or filters before using your trap. Use on a clear sunny day for best results.
  4. Optimum temperature. Cane toad tadpoles are most active on warm days. Colder weather reduces activity and tadpoles will be less likely to see out the lure. Extreme heat can cause tadpoles to die of stress, releasing chemical cues and reducing lure efficiency.Australia’s temperature range varies greatly depending on location. Tadpole temperature requirements will vary depending on normal range for your area, but Watergum recommends trapping in water between 18C and 30C. For best results, note down weather conditions and results while using your traps and lures to determine the optimum temperature and conditions for your area.
  5. Store lures correctly between trapping. Watergum’s Cane Toad Tadpole Lures are effective for 24 hours of water time. If re-using a lure, ensure the lure can dry out after use before being stored. Lures must be stored in a cool, dry place to maintain the effectiveness of the active ingredients.Do not store in fridge or damp environments. If stored correctly, Watergum Cane Toad Tadpole Lures have a shelf life of 2 years.

    Always keep out of reach of children or pets.

Still having trouble? Please contact us on 07 2103 5796 or at [email protected] and a member of the Watergum Cane Toad Team will be happy to assist you.

Will Watergum's Cane Toad Tadpole Traps and Lures catch native frog tadpoles?

Native frog tadpoles are not attracted to the chemical component of Watergum’s Cane Toad Tadpole Lures. When used according to instructions, native frog tadpoles will avoid entering the baited trap. This has been tested in scientific studies and the research has been published in peer reviewed literature.

Cane toad tadpoles are typically smaller than native frog tadpoles. Watergum Cane Toad Tadpole Traps have been designed to allow movement of cane toad tadpoles, but deter larger native tadpoles. 

The lure has no impact on species of small fish. They may accidentally swim into the trap during your trapping session. Always check your trap for bycatch and use a net to remove before euthanising tadpoles.

Do I have to fill exactly to the Optimum Water Level line?

No, you can fill the trap with slightly more or slightly less water as your waterbody requires. At a minimum, water must cover the funnels to allow the tadpoles to enter the trap. At a maximum, the trap must not be submerged over the lure hole on Side A or the ‘scent plume’ will be disrupted. 

The Optimum Water Level line is designed so that when you remove the trap from the water, water and tadpoles will not spill from the funnel and lure hole. If you fill the trap with more water, please be aware some water will spill when you end your trapping session.

How should I dispose of my tadpoles?

Watergum recommends humane euthanasia of cane toads, including cane toad tadpoles. The most humane method of euthanasia is the fridge/freezer method, as tested by scientific studies (link). See methodology below.

  1. Place cane toads tadpoles in a container or bag and fill with enough water to cover tadpoles.
  2. Place in fridge and leave for 8 hours. This step is essential to induce torpor in the tadpoles, a semi-comatose state similar to hibernation. Torpor switches off the tadpoles’ pain receptors.
  3. After 8 hours, remove from fridge and move to freezer. Freezing is essential to euthanise the tadpoles. Freeze for a minimum of 8 hours.
  4. Dispose of tadpoles in green waste bin, compost bin or burial. Bufotoxins contained by tadpoles will break down as the body decomposes, but until this time they are still toxic. For this reason, please do not leave tadpoles in an area where they could be ingested by children, pets or wildlife. If composting, we recommend waiting 3- 6 months before utilising on vegetable gardens.

With the help of our dedicated volunteers, Watergum operates drop-off stations in South-East Queensland and Northern NSW. Drop off points accept live and frozen cane toads and tadpoles, which are then used by the Watergum team for lure production. Click here for a list of drop off points.

Watergum does not support euthanasia through blunt force or chemical methods. Cane toads killed through these methods are not eligible for drop off points, as they are unable to be used for Cane Toad Tadpole Lure production.

How do I count my tadpole catch to log my data?

Depending on how many cane toad tadpoles you have caught, you may be able to estimate your catch through a visual assessment. For large catches with hundreds or thousands of tadpoles, you can do the following:

  1. Count out 100 tadpoles and weigh them for the value of A
  2. Place your entire catch into a sealed bag and weigh for the value of B
  3. Divide B by A and multiply by 100. This will give you an accurate estimate of your catch!
Why do I have to wash my trap after each use?

Washing your trap thoroughly with warm soapy water, inside and out, is important to make sure the trap works next time you use it!

This is something we discovered during our three years testing and product development. Cane toad tadpoles are deterred by the scent of previous catches. Not washing your trap properly after use will reduce your trapping success next time around.

I have dropped my trap and it's cracked! Can I still use it?

Unfortunately not! We make all our traps to be durable, but it is critical that the trap is watertight for the lure to work. A crack in the trap will leak the lure’s active ingredient out into the water, which will disrupt the scent plume and reduce your trapping success.

Can I use my Watergum Cane Toad Traps and Lures in a public park or national park?

Please contact the landowner or relevant local authority to gain permission before use.

Toad Busting FAQ
How should I humanely euthanise cane toads?

Watergum recommends humane euthanasia of cane toads. Scientific research shows that current best practice is the stepped hypothermia method. This study was undertaken by researchers from the University of Sydney and published in 2015. Please see the methodology below.

  1. Place cane toads in a container or bag, making sure they have access to air.
  2. Place in fridge and leave for 24 hours. This step is essential to induce torpor in the cane toads, a semi-comatose state similar to hibernation. Torpor switches off the toads’ pain receptors.
  3. After 24 hours, remove from fridge and move to freezer. Freezing is essential to euthanise the cane toads. Freeze for a minimum of 24 hours.

With the help of our dedicated volunteers, Watergum operates drop-off stations in South-East Queensland and Northern NSW. Drop off points accept live and frozen cane toads and tadpoles, which are then used by the Watergum team for lure production. Click here for a list of drop off points.

Watergum does not support euthanasia through blunt force or chemical methods. Toads euthanised in this way remain in the environment and still contain bufotoxins, presenting a threat to children, pets and wildlife. Cane toads killed through these methods are not eligible for drop off points, as they are unable to be used for Cane Toad Tadpole Lure production.

How can I dispose of dead cane toads?

Dead cane toads still contain bufotoxins, which will poison domestic pets and wildlife if mouthed or ingested. For this reason, please dispose of cane toads responsibly and do not leave in the environment.

You can dispose of cane toads in general or green waste bins, for collection by local council. Alternatively, you can bury cane toads at a minimum depth of 50-60 cm.

If you are within the South East Queensland or Nothern NSW areas, consider donating your frozen toads to a drop off point (link the map). These toads will be collected by Watergum staff and used in the production of Watergum Cane Toad Tadpole Lures.