Wet causes toad population surge

Corey Fisher shows a handful of cane toads his dad Neil Fisher found in their nursery.
Corey Fisher shows a handful of cane toads his dad Neil Fisher found in their nursery. Allan Reinikka

TERRIFIED screams are becoming a common occurrence through the streets of Rockhampton lately as an ugly menace explodes in great numbers.

The excessive rain has caused the cane toad population to skyrocket.

Gardening expert Neil Fisher said the build-up of insects following the rain had caused a spike in the number of toads in the area.

“Most people will notice if they leave a light on an outside wall of the house, the wall becomes almost just lined with insects,” Neil said.

“At the base of it there’s dozens of toads of all sizes.”

He said the influx after months of rain was very noticeable.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this many around,” Mr Fisher said.

“I know we had a really bad patch in the mid-nineties and we had to go out at night and catch a lot of the toads because they were doing a lot of damage.”

Yeppoon gardening authority Tom Wyatt agreed the number of toads around had risen.

“There’s plenty on my property,” Mr Wyatt said.

“They’ve got breeding habitats every where now.”

He said with tadpoles taking just 28 days to become toads, it wasn’t surprising to see the numbers rising so quickly.

The influx has prompted a local taxi driver to call on Rockhampton residents to come together to organise teams of “toad busters” to combat the growing menace.

Ashley King is a night-shift taxi driver who has been running over hundreds of toads while he is working.

Although they were often on main roads, he said toads preferred the quieter, undisturbed streets. Some roads with a major influx included Frenchville, Scott and Lion Creek roads.

He said the cane toads were attracted to the white street lights and would sit under them in groups of 10 or more to catch bugs.

“I’m killing an average of 25 cane toads a night, but other drivers can kill hundreds a night,” he said.

“When I see a fat one, I will line it up with my taxi and kill it. They make a wonderful popping sound when you hit them.”

Mr King suggested Rockhampton residents should organise teams to kill off the toads, as humanely as possible. Toads are notorious for poisoning native flora and fauna as well as eating almost anything they can swallow.


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