Toadzilla, monster toad found in Australia, could be world’s largest

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When Kylee Gray got out of her car, she looked down at the ground and suddenly gasped.

A ranger at Conway National Park in Queensland, Australia, stopped her car in the wild rainforest last week when she saw a snake slithering down the track. But what she saw next wasn’t a snake—or, for that matter, anything she’d seen before.

When she picked up the creature, she was holding a toad that she thought might be the largest in the world. It was the first time Gray met the large, venomous amphibian he would soon name Toadzilla.

“I reached down and grabbed the toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” she said in a statement to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

After weighing the toad (nearly six pounds) and concluding it was a female because they weigh more than their male counterparts, Gray said she considered naming the toad “Connie.” But upon further reflection, Gray said she thought the cane toad, rather than Connie, looked more like Godzilla, the fictional monster that terrorizes Japan.

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“We named him Toadzilla and quickly put him in a container so we could take him out of the wild,” Gray said.

Now Australian officials are trying to determine whether Toadzilla could be the largest of its kind. When the rangers returned to base on January 12, Toadzilla weighed 5.95 pounds, a possible world record. The heaviest recorded toad was measured in 1991. March, when Prinsen, a pet toad in Sweden, weighed 5.13 pounds and measured 1 foot 9 inches when fully extended, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Although Toadzilla’s age is uncertain, cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild, so park officials thought “this one has been alive for a long time.”

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“Due to her size, she was of great interest to our ranger staff,” Gray said in a statement.

Native to South America and mainland Central America, the cane toad was introduced to Queensland in 1935 to help control the cane beetle population. But in the decades since its introduction, the amphibians have not only failed to control the insects, but have become one of the world’s worst invasive species. According to National Geographic, cane toads, which average nearly three pounds, are “remarkably successful at reproducing and dispersing.”

According to research by the University of Western Australia, there are now millions of species in Australia and thousands of square miles in the northeastern part of the country.

The cane toad’s diet consists primarily of insects, but it will eat almost anything, including reptiles, birds, and even small mammals.

“They are opportunistic,” the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said in a statement about Toadzilla.

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The warty amphibian can secrete a milky venom from its parotid glands behind its shoulders, which can be fatal to wildlife. Toads are also especially dangerous for dogs that bite amphibians and ingest the toxin.

“Eating a cane toad will absorb the toxins much faster than simply licking it, so if your dog has bitten or eaten a toad, it’s important to take him to the vet immediately,” says Greencross Vets in Australia.

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Even with all the excitement and curiosity surrounding the giant cane toad, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science Twitter that Toadzilla was “killed because of the damage they cause to the environment”. Toadzilla has now been taken to a Queensland museum for further analysis to determine if it is indeed the largest recorded toad in the world.

“We’re glad we got her out of the national park,” Gray said.


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