Cane toad hitches ride with carny to Stanthorpe Show

LANDHOLDERS are being urged to keep watch for cane toads after one hitched a ride with a food vendor at the Stanthorpe show at the weekend.

The Southern Downs Regional Council local laws team investigated reports a cane toad was found at Stanthorpe Showgrounds at the weekend.

SDRC Local Law's Officer Craig Magnussen was taken by surprise when he arrived at the showgrounds to collect what he suspected would be a native burrowing frog, only to find the frog in question was in fact a cane toad.

The toad was reported to Council by Stanthorpe Agricultural Society.

"Reports of cane toads in the region usually turn out to be a native burrowing frog, which can be similar in appearance," Mr Magnussen said.

"This one is the real McCoy though. It no doubt hitched a ride with a food vendor or a side show alley exhibitor from the Coast.

"Thank you to the show society members who took the initiative to report the toad, which otherwise may have taken up permanent residency in Stanthorpe."

When he arrived at the Showgrounds, Mr Magnussen found the gate-crasher had been exterminated and was in a freezer awaiting collection.

The cane toad is not a declared pest in Queensland but is considered a toxic invasive animal.

Mr Magnussen called for residents to be vigilant and said they should report any suspected sightings to council.

"Cane toads are toxic insatiable feeders and when established they kill most native animals including insects, frogs, reptiles and other small creatures," he said.

"They have a detrimental impact on the environment. They also kill the endangered quoll and many species of reptiles and birds and can be harmful, even fatal, to domestic dogs."

Mr Magnussen said it is important for residents to educate themselves on the difference between introduced cane toads and native frogs.

He said he suspected the report was incorrect given there is no established cane toad population on the Southern Downs due to the region's cold winters.

"While it's unlikely cane toads would establish here, it is possible in the future with a changing climate," Mr Magnussen said.

Cane toads survive in many habitats but are commonly found in tropical and subtropical lowlands close to freshwater breeding areas.

For more information on the cane toad visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, or Queensland Museum.

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