Do you know how to identify a cane toad or tell the difference between a cane toad or a frog?

Did you know that a female toad can lay between 8000 and 35,000 eggs in a single clutch?

Do you know how to identify a cane toad toadlet vs a tadpole?

Cane toads threaten local biodiversity and have even caused the near extinction of some species of frogs, birds and mammals. So let’s have a quick lesson on toad identification.

Why are toads so destructive?

Cane toads have glands that exude a toxin that is poisonous to many other animals. They are toxic at all life stages from eggs to adults. Any animal that eats a toad or eats an animal that has eaten a toad can succumb to its toxin. Not only are they toxic, but they are also predators and will eat native frogs, tadpoles, insects, reptiles and small mammals. To add fuel to the fire, they will also outcompete native frogs for habitat.

So how do we identify toads? Toads lay eggs in long chains and have a bead-like appearance. The eggs are encased in a toxic tube of jelly with often two eggs side by side. Native frogs appear as a white foam that floats on the surface of the water or in nearby nooks and crannies on the edge of a waterbody.

Cane toad eggs vs frog eggs

Cane toad tadpoles are jet black in colour and are often seen swarming together in water that is of poor quality. Frog tadpoles are brown and often have variance in their colour. Cane toad tadpoles are oval in shape with a pointed snout and are generally broad.

Adult cane toads are identified by:

  • the large glands behind their ears,
  • the bony ridges above their eyes and along the nose
  • lack of webbing between their toes
  • their upright sitting position and
  • they move in short rapid hops