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Word Count: 1,381
These toads were being used successfully in the Caribbean islands and in Hawaii to combat the cane beetle a pest of sugar cane crops After good reviews from overseas Hawaii shipped a box of toads to Gordonvale just south of Cairns These were held in captivity for awhile and then they were released into the sugar cane fields of the tropic north It was later discovered that the toads cant jump very high so they did not eat the cane beetles which stayed up on the upper stalks of the cane plants At the time of year when the beetles larvae were emerging from the ground no toads were about So the cane toad as it came to be known had no impact on the cane beetles at all and farmers had to go back to the use of chemicals to kill the beetle Meanwhile the cat was out of the bag or more accurately the toads were out of the box But there were only 102 of them so nobody gave any thought to catching them up again and disposing of them The toads were on their own and they proved to be very hardy survivors They turned out to be a lot more than they bargained for and it didnt take long to find out how well the toads would do in their new Australian home Firstly they breed like flies as the saying goes Each pair of cane toads can lay 20000 per breeding season Their toadpoles develop faster than many Australian frogs so they can out compete our frogs for food Toads and toadpoles seem to be resistant to some herbicides and eutrophic water which would normally kill frogs and tadpoles All stages of a toads life are poisonous so they have no natural predators to keep their numbers in check Finally toads not only eat the food normally available to Australian frogs there is growing anecdotal evidence that they eat
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