Sometimes, what might seem a good a idea can produce some devastating side-effects. Such is the case with the introduction to Australia of the cane toad, originally seen as a viable solution for controlling the beetles in Queensland’s sugar cane fields; they quickly multiplied and became a serious threat to the environment.


In 1935 a consignment of 101 cane toads was imported to Australia from Hawaii in an attempt to control the native grey-backed cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum) and Frenchi beetle (Lepidiota frenchi).

These beetles are native to Australia and they are detrimental to sugar cane crops


Thousands of offspring of the imported toads were deliberately released at points around Queensland in a misguided effort at biological control of beetle pests of the sugar industry.
The beetle control plans were a failure and since then the toads have become a significant environmental and household pest.

1937 ->

Their spread across the continent has been well documented, and extends thousands of kilometres to include major areas of the eastern and northern coast, including the iconic World Heritage‐listed Kakadu National Park, significant inland areas of the continental north‐east, and some off‐shore islands. In addition cane toads are continuing to spread into north‐western Australia at a rate of more than 50 kilometres per year.


At an environmental level, toads have, via their toxicity, massively impacted on populations of native predators, including quolls, snakes, monitor lizards (goannas), and crocodiles. Substantial levels of mortality and extinctions of local populations of predators have been recorded.

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