Toad Busting!

Toad busting

Did you know Cane Toads can live for more than 10 years? You can make a difference by heading out toad busting – every Cane Toad counts!

Toad busting is an easy, fun and effective way to remove adult Cane Toads and control populations in your local area.

Watergum Toad Busting - Toad busters
Watergum Toad Busting - Toad busters

Are you toad-ally sure?

Before you head out toad busting, it’s important to brush up on your ID! There are more than 240 species of native frogs in Australia and some can look similar to toads. Can you tell the difference between a native frog and a Cane Toad?

Toad Busting 101

How to Toad Bust

  1. Get your toad busting gear together and brush up on your Cane Toad ID. Come up with a plan for euthanising your toads before going out, whether that’s clearing space in your fridge/freezer or checking in with your local drop off point. See more information below.

  2. Head out after sunset and use a bright torch to look for Cane Toads. This can be in your own backyard or local park. If you’re going somewhere new, it’s best to familiarise yourself with the area before it gets dark.

  3. When you see a Cane Toad, pick it up! It’s best to approach toads from the front, as the torch light ‘stuns’ them, making them sit still. We recommend picking up Cane Toads by holding around the shoulders or body.

  4. Place Cane Toad in your bucket, making sure they can’t jump out!

  5. Repeat! Every Cane Toad counts, just be sure not to overfill your bucket. If you’re out catching a large amount of Cane Toads, it’s best to have a plastic storage box you can regularly empty your bucket into, so the Cane Toads at the bottom can still breathe and so the ones at the top aren’t so close to the lid they can escape!

  6. After your toad busting session, count your catch. We encourage you to upload your data to our citizen science database, to help us understand Cane Toad numbers and control better.

  7. Humanely euthanise your Cane Toads. See below for more details on how to do this.

  8. Responsibly dispose of Cane Toads in general waste, green bins or home hot compost system. Remember that Cane Toads are still toxic for some time after death, so it’s important not to leave them in the environment.

Join our community of citizen scientists! 

Our community of toad busters have the opportunity to get involved in our citizen science study! By collecting and submitting data to our database, you can help build a better understanding of Cane Toad populations, impacts and control methods.

By donating the Cane Toads you remove to one of our drop off points, you can contribute further to Cane Toad control! We process the donated toads in house to remove the paratoid glands, from which we isolate the active ingredients in our Cane Toad Tadpole Lures. We’re always looking for volunteers for this, so if you’re keen to help out please, email us on [email protected]

Check out our resources below.

Toad Tips

Look for Cane Toads around the edges of vegetation, near or in waterways and under artificial lights. Cane Toads emerge at different times, so doing multiple sweeps in your area over the night will help catch more! 

Shine a light in the Cane Toads eyes to make them easier to catch. Cane Toads will often sit upright and stay still, as their best defence is their toxin! 

Count your catch when you get home and upload your toad busting data to our website! This helps us to track your impact on Cane Toad populations.

Humanely euthanise your toads – remember it’s not their fault they are here! Best practice is refrigeration for 24-48 hours to place the toad into torpor (hibernation), before placing into the freezer for 24-48 hours to euthanise the toad. After the Cane Toads have been humanely euthanised, you can dispose of them in general waste, green bins or hot compost systems.

Not keen on putting toads into your fridge/freezer? Watergum operates a series of drop off points around South East Queensland and Northern NSW. You can take live toads to these locations to be humanely euthanised. The Cane Toads dropped off at these points are collected by Watergum staff and used in the production of Watergum Cane Toad Tadpole Lures. These drop off points are run by generous volunteers, so please always call ahead!

Still have questions? We’re here to help

Do I have Cane Toads in my area?
Great question! Cane Toads have established populations throughout Queensland and the Top End, Northern New South Wales and North-west Western Australia. The Cane Toad frontline is currently south of Derby in WA and in the Clarence Valley in NSW, moving further south at a rate of around 50km a year.

If you live within the Cane Toad extent, it’s likely you have Cane Toads in your area and can make a difference by controlling their populations. It’s important to brush up on your ID to ensure you aren’t mistaking a native frog for a Cane Toad! Check our our ID page for a guide to Cane Toad ID at every life stage.

Are Cane Toads toxic to humans?
Cane Toads contain a poison, bufotoxin, at all life stages, including eggs, tadpoles, juveniles (metamorphs), adults and even after death. The level of toxicity increases as the Cane Toads ages.
Adult Cane Toads contain bufotoxin within their paratoid glands and skin. Cane Toads will secrete bufotoxin through the paratoid gland when stressed. Typically the larger the toad, the more bufotoxin it will produce.
Cane Toad bufotoxin can be harmful to humans, particularly when ingested or in contact with eyes. Bufotoxins may cause skin irritation if Cane Toads are handled with direct skin contact. When mouthed or ingested by domestic pets and native wildlife, Cane Toad bufotoxin will cause poisoning and potentially death.
Watergum recommends wearing appropriate PPE when handling Cane Toads, including gloves and eye protection. Seek medical attention immediately if ingested.
Do Cane Toads breed in salty water?
Cane Toads have been documented breeding in brackish water, however they will not breed in completely saline water.
What is the best practice for humane euthanasia of Cane Toads?
Current best practice for the humane euthanasia of Cane Toads according to RSPCA Guidelines is Stepped Hypothermia. This involves putting the Cane Toad in a container and placing in the fridge for 24-48 hours. The exact amount of time will depend on the amount of Cane Toads you have and the efficiency of your fridge. Cooling the Cane Toad will put it into torpor, a natural amphibian state similar to hibernation, and switch off the toads’ pain receptors. Then, transfer the toad to the freezer for a further 24-48 hours to euthanise.

Afterwards, you can put your frozen toads into general waste, your council green bin (remove toads from the container first!) or your home hot compost system. The bufotoxin will break down quickly in the hot compost, making it safe to use in your garden.

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