UNWELCOME VISITOR: Council officers suspect this cane toad hitched ride to town after it was discovered at the showgrounds.
UNWELCOME VISITOR: Council officers suspect this cane toad hitched ride to town after it was discovered at the showgrounds. Matthew Purcell

Toxic pest hitches a ride to the Stanthorpe Show

OUR allegiance to cane toads has boundaries.

While we might barrack and cheer for the ones in maroon come June - the real ones, we want kept at a distance.

So the fact one hitched a ride to the Stanthorpe Show over the weekend has council officers worried.

Southern Downs Regional Council's Local Law's Officer Craig Magnussen said he was taken by surprise to discover one at the showgrounds.

The toxic pests are common right around Queensland but don't usually venture to our neck of the woods.

The toad was reported to council by the Stanthorpe Agricultural Show Society, Mr Magnussen said.

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

"This one is the real McCoy though. 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.”

Mr Magnussen has a theory as to how it found its way here.

"It no doubt hitched a ride with a food vendor or a side show alley exhibitor from the coast.”

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 was important for residents to educate themselves on the difference between introduced cane toads and native frogs.

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

Stanthorpe Border Post

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