Toadzilla, the feral cane toad found in Australia, could be the largest in the world


When Kylie Gray got out of her car, she looked down at the ground and gasped in disbelief.

A ranger at Conway National Park in Queensland, Australia, stopped the car last week in a wild rainforest after seeing a snake slithering across the track. But what she saw next wasn’t a snake–or, for that matter, anything she’d seen before.

When she picked up the creature, she was holding a monster cane toad that she believed could be the largest of its kind in the world. This was the first time that Gray had met the large, venomous amphibian she would soon call “Toadzilla”.

She said in statment Issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

After weighing the cane toad (nearly six pounds), and concluding that it is female because it weighs more than their male counterparts, Gray said she considered naming the toad “Connie”. Gray said that, upon further consideration, she thought that instead of me, the cane toad sounded more like “Godzilla,” the fictional monster wreaking havoc in Japan.

“We named it Toadzilla, and quickly put it in a container so we could remove it from the wild,” said Gray.

Now, Australian officials are trying to determine if Toadzilla could be the largest of its kind. When the Rangers returned to base on January 12, they weighed Toadzilla at 5.95 pounds, which would be a world record. The heaviest frog ever measured was in March 1991 when Princen’s toad, a pet cane frog in Sweden, weighed 5.13 pounds and measured 1 foot 9 inches when fully extended, according to Guinness World Records.

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While the lifespan of Toadzilla is unclear, cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild, causing park officials to believe “this has been around for a long time.”

“She has generated a lot of interest among our ranger crew due to her size,” Gray said in a statement.

Native to South America and mainland Central America, the cane toad was introduced to Queensland in 1935 to help control cane beetle populations. However, in the decades since their introduction, amphibians have not only failed to control insects, but have also become one of the world’s worst invasive species. Cane toads, which average about three pounds in weight, “have had remarkable success in reproducing and spreading themselves,” according to National Geographic.

The number of species is now estimated to be in the millions in Australia, over thousands of square miles in the northeastern part of the country, according to Research from the University of Western Australia.

The cane toad’s diet consists mainly of insects, but it will eat almost anything, including reptiles, birds, and even small mammals.

“They are opportunists,” Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science said in a press release about Toadzilla.

Warty amphibians can secrete a milky toxin from the parotid glands behind their shoulders which can be fatal to wildlife. Cane toads are also especially dangerous for dogs, which bite amphibians and swallow poison.

“Eating a cane toad will cause the toxins to be absorbed much faster than just licking, so if your dog bites or eats a cane toad, it is imperative that you take them to a vet immediately,” according to Greencross Fits in Australia.

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Even with the excitement and curiosity surrounding the gigantic cane toad, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science announced at Twitter that Toadzilla was “euthanized because of the environmental damage it causes.” Toadzilla has now been transferred to the Queensland Museum for further analysis on whether it was indeed the largest cane toad on record in the world.

“We’re thrilled to have her out of the national park,” said Gray.

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