View Full Version : Cane Toads - Friend or fellon to the permi gardenner
15-03-2004, 08:32 PM
I know that cane toads are a disaster, causing the death of native wildlife etc - but how bad are they in terms of permiculture.
I have heaps of them at my place. They seem to come from miles around to lay eggs in my creek I presume. So far I have not declared outright war on them as I am wonderring whether they may be helping to control pests in my garden (mind you there are still heaps of pests in my garden).
What do you all reckon.
ps. I hope I haven't posted this qustion before - couldn't see it on the BB.
19-03-2004, 11:23 PM
Hey Veggie Boy, I tried to give you my thoughts about this the other day but I was too lazy to log in and so after writing a whole paragraph on the subject the website wouldn't accept it...
What I said was along the lines of:
My PDC teacher Geoff Lawton, of this site, was the first person I ever heard defend the Cane Toad. He said he'd rather have a Cane Toad problem than a Mosquito/Dengue Fever problem, and that ultimately nature would find its balance and pointed to several native predators who have either built some kind of resistance to the toads toxins or had learnt to eat around the poisin glands.
Okay, now I was quite skeptical about this point of view at the time and I remain so. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence that Bufo marinus, aka the Cane Toad actually eats mosquito's or their larvae. I have heard some fairly knowlegeable people pooh pooh the idea. I would love to hear further information on this point. Secondly it just seems to me that by the time nature imposes its checks and balances and the Cane Toad is reduced from superspecies to just another part of the eco-system then so much biodiversity will have been lost in the form of native fauna who could not compete with or digest the Toad.
Everyone knows the history that Toad was introduced by humans and thus needs to be recognized as a human ecosystem management f*&%up. It just doesn't seem good enough to say, well, Cane Toads are now part of the natural order in Australia now. We probably need some kind of containment strategies so that we don't lose all the frogs and half the snakes etc. Just my opinion...
In my youth I took great delight practising various cricket shots on the many that frequented our backyard... Then I was told by some people from the government who came to my primary school that this was inhumane, and we were all encouraged to go out with plastic bags on our hands, pick them up and pop the plastic bag over them, and put them in the freezer where they woulkd supposedly die a happy and painless death. I have always thought that they would probably prefer to bludgeoned instantly with a nice piece of willow, but this is an open point I concede.
Finally, one Permaculture dude in Brisbane, I think it was Satya Smith gave a talk at one of those Spring Permaculture Expo's where he outlined his method for making liquid fertiliser out of them! I think basically you just put them in a drum with some water and wait until they have emulsified before sprinkling it on the garden.
If there were no cane toads there would be a huge number of other endemic beneficials creatures of all kinds, and probably local frogs and toads.
I just hope it's not too late to stop the horrid things. There are so many pests and uncontrollable species, both plant and animal that I think we really need to be aware of what we plant or encourage into our gardens. There is a lot of diversity being long and just because something will grow easily, if it has weedy potential for your area you must think carefully about what you are doing, or are liklely to unleash.
Near waterways especially careful thought and questioning is essential as to how a species will behave- ie whether it can escape into bush.
Just because we're permaculturists, doesn't mean we musn't be aware of other landcare issues.
But it does make it harder and cut down the species choice. It's partly a matter of management.
my two cents worth... :)
21-03-2004, 08:38 PM
cant help but react to the cane toad problem. they are more than vermin and i cannot believe that they would be part of anything 'helpful'. as an ex-queenslander who has settled in WA via the top end of Darwin and the Kimberly's the lack of cane toads and the abundance of frogs is amazing. the sadness of knowing the cane toad is now in kakadu and katherine gorge (where fresh water croc populations have halved in 12mths - as per the local people) is at times overwhelming. i too have enjoyed the many and various ways in which to rid one's land of cane toads - as one of 4 children there weren't too many left on our 1 acre in brisbane. as the wife of a Cairns local who's grandmother was born in Cairns - i have discovered new ways of killing cane toads that i can guarantee would have the greenies screaming blue murder (hard to argue with an 85yr old woman though). neighbours of ours in brisbane who are now eminent dinosaur bone collectors say the only good toad is a dead one.
i say declare war on your cane toads. as a health professional i have seen more dengue/ross river fever in cane toad affected areas than those inhabited by native fauna. not scientific evidence but certainly anecdotal evidence.
sorry, a little passionate about the cane toad. but having now been exposed to the beauty of frogs, frogs and more frogs and growing up watching the demise of those same frogs........get rid of them and get in some baby frogs!!!
05-06-2004, 09:48 AM
i've not long joined the forum so just picking up on some earlier chats.
for me i don't see any room in our habitat for ferel creatures that are displacing other more suitable/desirable endemic native creatures.
for me i hate the damn cane toad it was a scientific blunder gone wrong, but how do we control it i don't know? the only use they have in our pemaculture system is as fertiliser in the garden after they have been fozen to death. how many more forgs would we have without the cane toad and in cane toaded infested areas have there been any sightings of native toads, for me i wouldn't even know what one looked like now.
07-06-2004, 10:23 PM
I think I see where you are coming from Red, but could you elaborate on your point, please?
12-06-2004, 06:28 PM
Great to see one of my old topics re-activated. Since then I have notices that I have a good population of little frogs (I assum tree frogs, but I'm not sure). The main place I see them is actually in my veggie gardens - which has gotta be a good thing from a pest control perspective.
No many toads around at the moment - bit cold - but am interested in going all out to kill them when they get more active again. THe thought of using them as fertiliser appeals to me - but I have no idea of what method to use. Should I just chuck them in the compost heap?? Suggestions appreciated.
12-06-2004, 07:59 PM
Cane toads are a bit like white folks a bit damaging at first but then the settle in and find there position without causing too much trouble. :lol: Yes 29 tadpoles released in the Johnson River in North Queensland would probably have killed 29 native animals in a pristine enviroment, but it was'nt it was an enviroment well out of balance especially with insects, so they boomed. Once the main wave has established they slow right down, all the native birds that eat them have learnt to turn them over and eat their stomachs missing the poison glands. Many native species that eat them build up a natural restance to thier poison because they eat the tadpoles and tiny toads. They are much too slow and short sighted to eat our green tree frogs. Set up a research experiment to check it out, with a low to the ground spotlight and a garden sprinkler at night and watch the entertaining events of they way they hunt and eat. They are here to stay and they are doing their bit as natural insect eaters. We really find it easy to hate, kill, burn, poison and find it so hard to love, listen, look, and learn to co-operate and harmonise.
Cheers Geoff and Nadia
13-06-2004, 04:59 AM
g'day veggie boy,
we just tie them up in plastic bags and freeze them then bury them around the vege garden.
very interesting geoff & nadia,
when i lived in the 'burbs i didn't set up any experiment i just went about controlling them as much as i could down my neck of the woods, we lived in a unique situation a dead end street with a wet land so i had a good size area to capture them in even had permission to jump fences. the thing i did notice was that when toads became scarce the frogs populations boomed, and a couple that i didn't even know where there.
for me they are ferrel pest and should be treated as such like the fox and ferel cats etc.,. .,. my last chat with the wildlife people indicated to me that the crow had devised a way of eating them and one of the black snakes seemed to have built up an immumity but as for the rest they said not so.
give me frog noises any day of the week me i reckon the cane toad (male) noise is horrible not my favourite sound at all.
just how len sees it. simply can't figure on accepting ferel's in our natural fauna.
G'day Gardening Len - good to see you on the Permie site!
I have driven over cane toads and watched the (insert rude words here) things get up and hop away. !!!
My old Dad made up some 'toad sticks'. Dowel with a good, sturdy bit of long steel in the end, kind-of a sword on a stick. He would ply us with red wine (we were well over 18!) and we would then go out and stab cane toads. Yes, we were gory blighters. We got rid of the mongerel things by the bucket load. Here's a tip - best to leave individual toads to rot all by themselves. Piles of toads get REALLY stinky. Also, leave them on their back, as native creatures will come along and eat bits of them.
No toads down here in Ballarat, but no doubt it is only a matter of time...
13-06-2004, 07:20 PM
if nothing else the cane toad is adaptable, laready they can tollerate 30% saltiness in water for breeding, they ae already in sydney subs most likely to the north. the one thing our native amphibians aren't is adaptable they are usually very site specific.
21-06-2004, 01:27 PM
Haven't heard of anyone doing this to observe before, but have heard of techniques for trapping toads by puting light source in raised container with ramp for access. Toad get in but can't get out. Have been meaning to try this for ages.
21-06-2004, 05:48 PM
have heard of traps before, not like you mention though, but from a standing start they can jump out of a 20 litre bucket.
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.1 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.