The Northern Quoll and Those Damn Cane Toads


* It was brought to my attention *several* times that the picture I originally had was that of some kind of bullfrog, so I am correcting the egregious error for those who actually stumble upon my blog. You’ll be happy it only took me month to address the issue… That is all… *

Cane toads have been a scourge on Australia since their introduction to the country in the 1930’s. The original intention of bringing the toads in was to control beetles that were ravaging local cane fields. These amphibians, however, had other ideas, and flourished unchecked. They are massive in size and have poison glands that have resulted in the poisoning of members of many local species of wildlife and household pets. They have long been considered a blight on the Australian landscape. I’ve taken the liberty of including  the exceptionally quirky but informative documentary “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History” by Mark Lewis. This expose, cherished by many for its humorous take on its topic, can be found in a series of 5 youtube videos at the end of this post.

Now onto Australia’s Northern Quoll:

This very cute, fuzzy creature is a marsupial native to Australia. The range of this creature has slowly been entrenched upon, and the latest threat to its well-being is the cane toad. The quolls are carnivorous and are often poisoned by toads they make meals of. Researchers have pioneered a sort of aversion-therapy to discourage them from eating the toads. They take smaller toads with toxin loads too minute to kill the quolls, then lace the amphibians with a nausea-inducing chemical known as  thiabendazole. The quolls learn to associate eating the cane toads with feeling ill. Data on the survival of these “conditioned” quolls indicate the approach may be working. Read more here.

And as promised, “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History”


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