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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 09:13 GMT
Australians hunt down toxic toads
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Darwin

Cane toad
The toxic toads have wrought havoc on indigenous animals
Residents in Australia's Northern Territory are staging a day of action to stop marauding cane toads.

They are being encouraged to hunt and destroy these toxic pests, which have spread in plague-like numbers across tropical Australia.

The cane toads were introduced from South America 70 years ago in a failed attempt to eradicate cane beetles.

They are big, ugly creatures and their advance has taken them to the outskirts of Darwin.

Residents are being urged to defend the front-line on "Not In My Backyard Day", which is sponsored by the Northern Territory government.

'Flog them'

Federal MP Dave Tollner says that the toads deserve no mercy.

"I suggested that people should hit them with golf clubs or cricket bats or, you know, lumps of wood - whatever was at hand.

The only fun bit about them is squashing them and killing them
Schoolgirl

"Other people have suggested that you should put them in a box and then gas them with the exhaust of your car. The RSPCA also suggests chemical euthanasia.

"You know, to me it seems far easier just to flog them over the head with a lump of wood," he says.

The toads have become a serious hazard to local wildlife.

Crocodiles have died after eating their toxic skin, while lizards have been no match for them either.

Humane alternative

Safe to say that cane toads have few friends in Australia's lush tropics.

"I think they're really disgusting and the only fun bit about them is squashing them and killing them," a schoolgirl says.

Map of Australia

Asked whether she thinks that is a bit mean, she replies: "No, not to me... Because cane toads are disgusting!"

Australia's RSPCA believes that these warty creatures are a menace and should be destroyed.

It recommends that they be smeared with haemorrhoid cream.

It contains a local anaesthetic that induces a coma.

The toads are then placed in a freezer and the job is done humanely.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear how the toads will be hunted



SEE ALSO:
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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