February 16, 2006

Death of a Cane Toad

Cane Toads (Bufos Marinas?) are an obnoxious, brown, warty type of
frog (OK, toad) that inhabit vast areas of Australia.  Their
introduction and proliferation in Australia is a classic example of
ecology gone wrong.  In the beginning, there were no cane toads in
Australia.  Sugar cane was introduced to its fair shores, along with
the sugar cane came the cane beetle, a nasty, brown insect about 3/4
inch long.
"How do we stop the cane beetle," ask the scientists, "the little
fuckers are eating all our sugar cane."
"Ahhh," says someone clever, "Why not look around the world to see
what eats cane beetles, then introduce them into Australia and the
problemo is solved!"
They found a natural predator in the cane toad, which came from Hawaii
of all places.  In 1935, 55 pairs (as in 110) cane toads were released
in the small North Queensland town of Gordonvale.  Unfortunately,
Australia did not have any predators that liked to eat the toads,
probably due to the poison glands on the back of their neck.
Similarly, the cane toads found that there was much more interesting
and tasty stuff to eat than boring old cane beetles.
The result was a plague of biblical proportions.
As a consequence, every man, woman and child living north of Sydney
has grown up knowing the extreme pleasure of killing cane toads.
Motorists swerve to hit them, cricketers hoist them for a six
(equivalent of home run for you 'Merkins) over the boundary, weekend
gardeners chase them down with a lawn mower.
The following, is some of the many varied ways I have dispatched these
nasty little buggers while I lived in Queensland.  Perhaps some other
Aussies can add to the list, what about you Hawaiians out there?
The Thong Slap (TS) is not fatal to a cane toad, but is an important
component of many of the other means of disposal.  To perform a TS,
one quickly removes their thong (rubber, sandal-like footwear) and
slaps a toad hard on the head.  This stuns the toad and stops it from
hopping all over the place.
#1) Take golf clubs out into the back yard, usually only a 2-wood,
6-iron and 9-iron.  Find a toad and dispatch with club of your choice.
If the toad is sitting upright, use the driver.  Extra points are
awarded for lofted shots over the house and on to the street.  Hitting
a "slice" tends to result in separate pieces of toad.
#2) Take a field hockey stick and dispatch as above.  Remember not to
raise the head of the stick above shoulder height, otherwise a penalty
may ensue.
#3) Using a cricket stump, first smash the toad with the blunt end,
then reverse the stump and impale it with the pointed end.  Shake the
toad off the pointed end and repeat if necessary.
A special class devoted to common garden tools.  Favorite tools are
the shovel (hit with flat side, then chop up with blade), the mattock
(chopping only), the pitch fork (see how many you can collect) and the
axe (slice and dice).
Another special class, covering those instruments not involved with
clubbing.  Some nice effects can be gained with tennis rackets (small
toads only - great for perfecting that two-handed backhand), darts
(nothing like a moving bullseye) and football boots.
#1) Take you mother's best carving knife outside and see if you
*really* can throw it like a Bowie knife.
#2) After performing a TS, flip the toad over and use an Xacto knife
to practice your vivisection techniques.  See how much you can remove
and still get the toad to hop away.
#3) Perform TS, throw toad into the air and try to hit with a machete.
More points are awarded if the pieces are equal in size.
#1) One of my all-time faves: Perform a TS, then throw the toad out
onto a bust street.  Bet with friends how many cars will miss it
before it goes POP.
#2) Go to the local cricket field late at night.  Using repeated TS's,
gather a large quantity of stunned toads.  Arrange in a line and then
run over them with the heavy roller used for the cricket pitch.  Try
to get them feet first so all the guts pop out the mouth.
#3)  The two footed jump.
#4) The brick target-toss.  TS a toad, then step some distance back
and lob bricks at it.
#1) The air rifle.  Try to get those difficult lung shots so they hop
around blowing red frothy bubbles.  Try a hard to get glancing head
shot, that leaves the skull exposed and the toad still alive.
#2) Target shooting.  TS a number of toads and then pin them to the
clothesline with pegs.  Keep shooting till they break off.
#3) Get some long wooden cotton swabs that you use to clean VCR heads.
Sharpen the end of the stick, then soak the swab in alcohol (or
gasoline).  Load backwards into air rifle (so sick comes out first)
and shoot toad.  Light the swab as it hops away so remaining shots in
the dark are easier.
#1)  Douse toad in kerosene and light.
#2) Rummage through doctors trash cans for discarded syringes with
needles.  Inject toads with various chemicals and note results.  DDT
based insecticides work well.
#3) Put toad in jar with pool chlorine.  Add vinegar so chlorine gas
is produced.  Cap jar and watch toad turn white.
#4) Fill a bucket with boiling water.  TS toads, then drop in for
instant gratification.
#5) Put football inflation needle on the end of a bike pump.  TS a
toad, then insert needle into toad's bum.  Pump vigorously and see
which organs are expelled through the mouth.
#6)  Tie toads to the back of your bike, then go off for a fun ride!


Anonymous said...

air rifles don't work all that well. These toads can stand an INCREDIBLE amount of punishment. I swear it'd sometimes take 10 pellets to put one down if you don't manage to hit the head.

Anonymous said...

I like skewer the cane toad to a bull ants nest.
Sit back and watch them being eaten alive.
For extra enticement for the ants, smear honey on the toads head and eyes..
Skewering also helps to discourage the crows from stealing our victim.

Anonymous said...

Found some bigguns in a pool and put them in a bucket with an inch of water, but couldn't find any liquid chlorine, found granular and tipped about a cup in over there heads. I'm glad I put them outside coz they go off about as loud as a shotgun blast.