Rhinella marina, Border Ranges NP Click to enlarge image
Cane Toad Image: Jodi Rowley
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    marina
    Genus
    Rhinella
    Family
    Bufonidae
    Order
    Anura
    Phylum
    Amphibia
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    15 cm
  • Habitats
    closed scrub, grassland, low open forest, low shrubland, open forest, open woodland, woodland
  • Feeding Habits
    acariphagous

Description

A very large species of toad reaching up to 15 cm in body length, and occasionally attaining 25 cm. Adult toads have a light brown or yellow-brown back, with darker patches and spots. The skin is dry and warty. The belly is white or yellow, sometimes with grey mottling. The pupil is horizontal, and the iris is gold with distinct black spotting. Fingers are unwebbed and toes are fully webbed. Young toads often have a grey back, with distinct yellow or red spots or patches. Adults have large parotid glands on the shoulders, which secrete toxins when the toad is under threat. These toxins often kill Australian native predators that try to eat the toad, which has resulted in massive ecological damage as the toad expands into new areas in vast numbers.



Similar Species

Adult toads, with their very large body size, dry warty skin, and large parotoid glands on the shoulders, do not look similar to any of Australia's native species. Young toads, however, look similar to many Uperoleia and Crinia species, but lack colourful markings on the groin and backs of the thighs.

Distribution

A well known invasive species. It was originally introduced to QLD in 1935 and since then has spread very rapidly throughout most of QLD, west through the northern NT to the Kimberley region in WA, as well as south to the mid north coast of NSW. It is continuing to spread west very rapidly. Research is currently underway to determine how to reduce the toad's growing population.



Breeding Biology

Eggs are laid as very long strings in nearly all fresh water bodies. Tadpoles can reach a total length of up to 3 cm, and are black in colour. They often swim in large schools at the bottom of water bodies and take one month to develop into toads, although tadpoles in colder areas can take longer, and tadpoles in warm shallow water can develop in just 10 days. Breeds during any time of the year.


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