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Monster Toad Found In Australia

File photo of a cane toad.
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) March 27, 2007
A cane toad the size of a small dog has been captured in the Australian tropical city of Darwin, the largest ever recorded in the country's remote Northern Territory, environmentalists said Tuesday.

Green group FrogWatch said the monster male was 20.5 centimetres (8.1 inches long and weighed 861 grams (1.9 pounds).

"The biggest toads are usually females but this one was a rampant male," said FrogWatch's Graeme Sawyer, who organises regular excusions to trap and destroy the feral pests blamed for destroying native Australian wildlife.

"He is huge. I would hate to meet his big sister."

The cane toad, whose scientific name is Bufo marinus, was introduced from South America in the 1930s to control another pest -- beetles that were ravaging the sugar cane fields of the tropical northern coasts.

But the toads now number in the millions and are spreading westward through the Northern Territory, upsetting the country's ecosystem in their wake.

Cane toads have poisonous sacs on the back of their heads full of a venom so powerful it can kill crocodiles, snakes or other predators in minutes.

The animals, explosive breeders, have spread into the wetlands of world heritage Kakadu National Park and have recently become entrenched in Darwin.

All attempts to fight the spread of the toads so far have failed and a history book last year rated their introduction as one of the greatest mistakes ever made in Australia.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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