Cane toads

Cane toad

Cane toads (Bufo marinus, Bufonidae) naturally occur in the southern USA and the tropics of South America.

Cane toads were deliberately introduced into Australia in an unsuccessful attempt to control pest beetles of sugar cane. About 3,000 were first released near Cairns, northern Queensland, in July 1935.

Having no natural predators, cane toads have now spread and are currently distributed throughout Queensland's east coast, across the top end of Northern Territory and Western Australia and along the coast of New South Wales as far south as Yamba and around Port Macquarie.

They are a major threat to native animals on the far north coast of New South Wales.

Working together with the community to control cane toads

Cane toads are highly toxic presenting significant danger to pets, wildlife and agriculture and are spreading at an alarming rate across the Tweed. Council has partnered with Watergum to work together with the community to reduce their numbers.

Upcoming toad busting events

There will be a number of online and in-person ‘toad busting’ events in 2022 and 2023 for the community to get involved in.

12 to 18 December 2022 – Tweed Cane Toad Busting Challenge 1

The first Tweed Cane Toad Busting Challenge starts on Monday 12 December until Monday 19 December. Follow the Facebook event to find out you everything you need to know about toad busting, and how to enter this fun competition.

Toad busting prizes include:

  • 1st prize: 1x family pass to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
  • 2nd prize: 1x toad busting kit
  • 3rd prize: 1x Steve Parish kids’ cane toad story book + 1x cane toad control manual 

Prizes will be drawn on Monday 19 December.

Competition terms and conditions(PDF, 205KB)

Check in throughout the week for updates on the challenge - questions and comments are highly encouraged!

Equipment you will need:

  • bucket with a lid
  • gloves
  • torch
  • pick-up stick (optional).

Register for the cane toad challenge

Step 1: Register you are “going” on the Facebook eventIt is not a physical event, you do the toad busting in your own time.

Step 2: Upload your data to the Watergum toad busting database

Step 3: Find your closest drop off station to drop off your toads.

Winners will be announced Monday 18 December!

Let's make a difference, let's impact cane toads!

This is a Tweed Shire Council event for the purpose of community cane toad control.

For more information contact canetoads@watergum.org.

Other future events

  • 20 to 26 February 2023 – Tweed Cane Toad Busting Challenge 2
  • 23 March 2023 – Cane Toad Education Session - Murwillumbah Services Club
  • 3 to 9 April 2023 – Tweed Cane Toad Busting Challenge 3
  • 20 April 2023 – Cane Toad Education Session (location TBC)

For more information please email canetoads@watergum.org

Community toad busting in the Tweed

If you're unable to make one of our events, you can find out how to do your own toad busting at home by watching the following video.


An informative video on how to rid your neighbourhood of the dreaded cane toad.

Cane toad drop-off points

As part of a collaboration between Tweed Shire Council and Watergum, a number of community cane toad drop-off points throughout the Tweed have been set up.

These points will serve as a place where members of the public can take cane toads they have captured to be stored and then used by Watergum to create tadpole lures. Live or frozen toads are both accepted.

Pottsville

Mercedes is a volunteer and will be hosting a fridge/freezer as well as harvesting the toxin glands for lure production. If you have cane toads to drop off, please text or call first on 0417 638 896

Murwillumbah

Graham is a Murwillumbah community member, eager to help impact cane toads in the Tweed Shire. His drop off times are 7 days a week. Please text or call him first to get the address and to arrange dropping off toads: 0412 593 382

Uki

Brendan owns A Tinker's Cuss on the main street of Uki, 1472 Kyogle Rd, Uki.

His drop-off times are during business hours: 9 am - 4 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

Please text or call before dropping off toads: 0488 299 971

Banora Point

Trish from Banora Point can take frozen or refrigerated cane toads (no live toads). If you would like more information and where to drop them off, call or text Trish on 0432 540 792 to organise your drop off.

Trish is a volunteer, please only contact her at a reasonable hour.

 

It is important to note that cane toads treated with any type of chemicals cannot be accepted as Watergum will not be able to use them for producing tadpole lures. It also violates their humane euthanasia policy.

If you are interested in hosting a community drop-off point yourself, please get in contact with Watergum for more details on canetoads@watergum.org.

Why are cane toads a pest?

Cane toads are a pest because: 

  • There are no specific predators of cane toads in Australia.
  • The ability of cane toads to rapidly increase in number and expand into new areas and eat a large volume and variety of prey means they could displace many native species.
  • Toads prey on native animals especially insects and other invertebrates.
  • Toads out-compete native fauna such as small skinks and frogs for food.
  • Cane toads are poisonous at all stages of their life cycle.
  • Toads poison pets, humans, and native animals.
  • Toads may carry diseases transmissible to native snakes, frogs and fishes.

Cane toad fact sheet(PDF, 760KB)

Identification

Cane toads can be identified as follows: 

  • Skin colour varies between grey, yellowish, olive-brown or reddish brown
  • Skin above is dry, rough and warty
  • Belly skin is pale with dark mottling
  • Bony ridges over the eyes that meet above the nose
  • Webbing between toes of hind feet, unwebbed front feet
  • Average size of adults is 9- 15 cm
  • Toads sit upright and move with short hops
  • Toads have large swellings (parotoid glands) on the shoulder behind the eardrum

See (and hear) the difference between some of our native frogs and cane toads 

Handling toads and frogs

If handling cane toads, take care not to come in contact with the poison. Venom exudes from the parotoid glands above the shoulders and toads have been reported to spray venom a short distance. Always use rubber gloves.

Always take care when handling frogs.

What can you do?

If you would like to ‘Toad Proof’ your frog pond or farm dam, view the information sheet(PDF, 476KB)

Collect and dispose of toads humanely but be 100% sure before you kill a cane toad that it is not one of our native frog species. If a suspected toad is under 4 cm in length, please take it to Tweed Shire Council chambers or the NPWS office for identification.

Contact

Project Officer - Pest Animals, Wildlife Protection
Call 02 6670 2400
Email tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au