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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 07:12 GMT 08:12 UK
Dog-sized toad found in Australia
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney


A giant cane toad the size of a small dog and nicknamed Toadzilla has been captured in northern Australia.

Toadzilla is the biggest cane toad ever found in Australia's Northern Territory and weighs just under two pounds, according to an environmental group.

Environmentalists have been trying to stop the spread of the poisonous creatures across the country's tropics.

The toads were introduced from Hawaii in the 1930s in a failed attempt to control native cane beetles.

Toadzilla was caught during a community hunt in Darwin. Residents have been urged to help stop the spread of this most unwelcome of pests.

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Environmental group FrogWatch, which organises hunts to destroy the toads, said the creature measured 20.5cm (8 inches) and weighed 861g (1.9lb).

"He is huge. I would hate to meet his big sister," said FrogWatch co-ordinator Graeme Sawyer.

Cane toads were first released in Queensland and have since marched in their millions across the country.

They are prolific breeders. Some estimates put their number as high as 200 million.

What is beyond doubt is their effect on the environment.

They have poisoned countless native animals, including crocodiles which have died after eating them.

The population of some snakes, lizards and small marsupials have also suffered greatly.

A Northern Territory MP once said the toads were such a menace that people should attack them with golf clubs to keep them at bay.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The cane toad is shown-off in Darwin



SEE ALSO
Australians hunt down toxic toads
18 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Toxic toads 'threaten disaster'
15 Feb 06 |  Science/Nature
Australia MP targets toxic toads
11 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Snakes bite back at poison toads
08 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature
Toxic toads threaten north Australia
19 Jan 01 |  Asia-Pacific

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