1. Find your Cane Toad tadpoles and plan your trapping!

Identify tadpoles as Cane Toads. If you’re not sure what to look for, visit our identification guide. Note: to avoid wasting your lure, only set your trap if you can actually see Cane Toad tadpoles! You can’t catch what isn’t there.
You will need to put your trap in water around 15 cm deep, usually on the edge of your waterbody.
Planning your trapping session in advance can increase your success, as environmental conditions can impact your results. A few considerations:

  • Trap on a clear sunny day with no heavy rain in the forecast,
  • Trap on a warm day, with water temperature between 18-35 C. Relative temperature can play a part – if it has been warm all week and then cools down, tadpoles won’t be as active in looking for food.
  • If it is cold, we suggest using your trap in mid-day sun.
  • If it is hot, use your trap in the early morning or late afternoon, or even overnight. This is because if the water is too hot, the Cane Toad tadpoles may die in the trap due to exposure. When they die, they release a chemical cue that warns other Cane Toad tadpoles away. If they die quickly before all the tadpoles enter the trap, you will not have a successful trapping session.
  • Relatively still water. Avoid significant tidal changes or strong currents, turn off any water fountains or pumps. Water movement may disrupt the scent plume.
  • If using multiple traps, place them a minimum of 15m apart close to different swarms. If placed too close together, the scent plumes from each trap can mix and create a cloud in the water. The tadpoles won’t have a clear plume to follow into the trap.

2. Place lid on trap and lock into place

  1. Align arrows on lid (Side C) and side of trap OR line up numbers on the side of the bucket and lid. This step depends on which version of the trap you have, we have altered the design slightly based on your feedback.
  2. Press down around edge of lid to position correctly.
  3. Hold the handle and twist lid anticlockwise to lock.
  4. Check that lid is locked in place correctly and cannot lift. If there is movement from the lid, it is not locked on correctly. This will cause the scent plume to leak out from the lid as well as funnels and will not give the tadpoles a clear direction to follow into the trap, causing it not to work.

Please note, your trap will need to be weighted down. You can do this by gently placing a rock in the trap before locking the lid, or by placing a brick on top once the trap is in the water.

3. Position trap in water.

Set as close to tadpole swarm as possible! With Side A facing up, hold trap under water until it is resting on the ground and filled to the Optimum Water Level line.
Important! Do not fully submerge. The lure hole on Side A must stay above water.

Turn off any water fountains or pumps at this step, before setting your trap with the lure.

4. Stabilise trap and add lure.

Place brick or similar weight on top (Side A) to stabilise trap in water if you haven’t already weighted it internally. Filling to the Optimum Water Level line will ensure you have the perfect water level inside the trap and water and tadpoles will not spill out of the funnels when you go to remove it. However, depending on your waterbody depth, you can fill  below this line (as long as the funnels are covered) or above (as long as the lure hole is not submersed).
Wait for water to settle, then put one Cane Toad Tadpole Lure through the lure hole. Your trap has now been set!

5. Leave your trap and let nature do the work!

Leave your trap to allow time for the tadpoles to enter. We usually recommend 4-8 hours for this, although in some very small waterbodies, or where native frog tadpoles are present, we recommend starting with 2-3 hours. This is because in smaller water bodies the scent plume will saturate the water in a shorter period of time.
Do not move your trap once it is set as this will disrupt the scent plume and impact your success.

6. End your trapping session.

Tip trap upright and remove from water. If you have filled the trap to the Optimum Water Level line, no water will spill through funnel and lure hole.

7. Collect your catch!

Rotate the lid clockwise to unlock. Remove lid and pour contents of the trap through a net. Be sure to check for and remove any by-catch and collect your lure.

8. Submit your data!

Estimate the total number of Cane Toad tadpoles in your catch. You can visually estimate your catches, or to be accurate with large amounts this calculation will help

Count out 100 Cane Toad tadpoles and weigh them (don’t forget to tare your scales so the container weight doesn’t count!). Then weigh your whole catch. Divide the weight of 100 tadpoles by the weight of the whole catch, then multiply by 100. This will give you a fairly accurate estimate of your total catch size! 

Submit your data to the Watergum website. This helps us track your impact!

9. Euthanise and dispose of Cane Toad tadpoles.

Watergum recommends using the most humane euthanasia method available to you. Current best practice for humane euthanasia of Cane Toads is stepped hypothermia (fridge/freezer). Place tadpoles in a small container with some water, then place in the fridge for 8 hours followed by the freezer for 8 hours. If this is not available for you, Cane Toad tadpoles will not live for long without water.

Please dispose of Cane Toad tadpoles responsibly as they are toxic. Tadpoles can be placed in a hot compost system (toxin will break down), regular waste bin or buried 60cm deep to prevent animals or pets from digging them up.

10. Important! Prepare your trap and lure for next use.

Use soapy water to wash trap inside and out. If not washed properly, the tadpoles’ scent will stay on the trap. This may deter any new tadpoles from entering your trap next time.

Lures are effective for 24 hours of water time. If storing lure for re-use, dry out fully and record hours used.

Do you still have questions? Check out our FAQ page!