Cane toad spotted in Campbelltown

Picture: file
Picture: file

The Macarthur community is urged to be on the look-out for cane toads after the invasive species was spotted in Campbelltown recently.

Campbelltown Council reported a cane toad was found at Gilchrist Reserve.

The amphibians are considered a "serious non-native invasive pest in NSW", according to the Department of Primary Industries, and can cause devastating impacts to native animals and ecosystems due to their rapid spread, use of limited natural resources and ability to poison animals that try to eat them.

Residents who believe they have spotted a cane toad are urged to report the sighting to Campbelltown Council's Natural Areas Team, take a photo, record the location and potentially catch the animal.

The council team will then be able to identify whether or not the species in question is a cane toad.

Anyone who attempts to catch a cane toad should wear protective clothing such as disposable gloves, long sleeves and eye protection. Cane toads can ooze and sometimes squirt poison from behind their heads when stressed.

Cane toads can be mistaken for native and threatened frog species so residents are encouraged not to harm the animal and keep it in a well-ventilated container in a cool location with water, if captured.

Cane toads were introduced to Australia, specifically Queensland and Northern NSW, deliberately in an effort to reduce pest beetles attracted to sugar cane, however they soon became pests themselves.

The DPI reports there is "no broadscale method" to control cane toads.

"However, maintaining awareness of cane toads, reporting their presence and managing them responsibly when detected will help in slowing the spread and further establishment of cane toads in NSW," the website reports.

"The Cane Toad Biosecurity Zone incorporates all areas of NSW except a portion of the north east of the state where surveys indicate that cane toads have established endemic populations."

The DPI website contains a detailed description of a cane toad's physical features.

"Cane toads eat almost anything they can swallow, including pet food, carrion and household scraps, but most of their food is living insects," the website states.

"Beetles, honey bees, ants, winged termites, crickets and bugs are eaten in abundance. Marine snails, smaller toads and native frogs, small snakes, and small mammals are occasionally eaten by cane toads.

"During the day and in cold or dry weather they shelter in moist crevices and hollows, sometimes excavating depressions beneath logs, rocks and debris.

"Cane toads are prolific breeders, requiring only a small pool of water of almost any nature."