19 March 2021

Cane toad found in Canberra (but it's not a plague)

| David Murtagh
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Cane toad

The cane toad found at Yarralumla. Photo: ACT Government.

Considering we’ve endured hail, fire, smoke and a global pandemic in the past year and a bit, would you be surprised to learn that a cane toad has been found in the ACT?

The offending male was located at the Yarralumla Wholesale Nursery last Friday (12 March) but according to the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, the threat has been “eliminated”.

The ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna, Ian Walker, is assuring Canberrans this is a one-off incident.

Cane toad

It’s unlikely cane toads would establish themselves in the ACT due to our cold winters. Photo: File.

“We are confident that there is no risk to Canberra’s environment because this one cane toad was inadvertently transported to Canberra on a truck,” Mr Walker said.

“Teams from across government undertook an intensive search of the nursery and surrounding area over the weekend. No additional cane toads were located during these searches, indicating that this was an isolated incursion.

“It is highly unlikely a cane toad population would establish this far south due to Canberra’s cold winter climate, especially with the colder weather we experienced on Sunday.

“This incident was treated seriously, and through the diligence of the nursery staff in their reporting and the quick investigation and action from those involved in the response, any possibility of a population of cane toads persisting in the nursery has been removed.”

Cane toads are toxic at all stages of their lifecycle from eggs to tadpoles to adults and their toxin is strong enough to kill most native and domestic animals including pets and some of our threatened species.

What to do if you see a cane toad?

  • Do not kill it as it is most likely a native frog
  • Exercise caution and take a close-up photograph
  • Wearing rubber gloves and eye protection put it into a well-ventilated container with 1 cm of water
  • Phone Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

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