Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cane Toads Full of Plaster

The picture, from the National Geographic, is of cane toads which an Australian taxidermist is recycling by filling them with plaster and turning them into paper weights.

There are way, way too many cane toads in Australia, the right number would be zero.
Originally from South America, the cane toad was introduced by the sugar industry in 1935 in a misguided attempt to control two sugarcane pests: the Grey Backed cane beetle and the Frenchie beetle.

Unfortunately, no one noticed that the toad doesn't generally eat these bugs, though it successfully devoured other native insects and micro-fauna to the point of extinction.

Adding insult to ecosystem injury, the poisonous toad instantly kills any predator that attempts to eat it, particularly the quoll, Australia's marsupial cat, and giant native lizards. Its population continues to proliferate, outcompeting native amphibians and spreading disease. More.
A Cane Toads: An Unnatural History is a great movie. I gave it five stars! I particularly liked footage of a cane toad eating all the food out of a dog's bowl as the dog, indignant and terrorized, hovered nearby.

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At 8:57 AM, Blogger kenju said...

The clothespins are a nice touch!

This reminds me of how kudzu was introduced to quell erosion and now look what it does! Apparently we never learn. Importing flora and fauna is not always a good idea, is it?


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