When he picked up the creature, it was holding a monstrous cane toad that he believes might be the largest of its kind in the world. This was the first time Gray had met the large venomous amphibian he would soon call “Toadzilla”.
“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” he said in a declaration Issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
After weighing the cane toad (nearly six pounds) and concluding that it is a female since they weigh more than their male counterparts, Gray said he considered naming the toad “Connie.” But upon further consideration, Gray said that he thought that rather than Connie, the cane toad was more like “Godzilla,” the fictional monster that wreaks havoc in Japan.
“We named it Toadzilla and quickly put it in a container so we could get it out of the wild,” Gray said.
Now, Australian officials are trying to determine if Toadzilla might be the largest of its kind. When the rangers returned to the base on Jan. 1. On the 12th, Toadzilla weighed in at 5.95 pounds, which could be a world record. The heaviest recorded toad was measured in March 1991 when Prinsen, a pet cane toad in Sweden, weighed 5.13 pounds and measured 1 foot 9 inches when fully extended, according to Guinness World Records.
While Toadzilla’s age is unclear, cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild, prompting park officials to think “this one has been around a long time.”
“She has created a lot of interest among our ranger staff because of her size,” Gray said in a statement.
Native to mainland South and Central America, the cane toad was introduced to Queensland in 1935 to help control the cane beetle population. However, in the decades since its introduction, the amphibian has not only failed to control the insects, but has also become one of the world’s worst invasive species. Cane toads, which average nearly three pounds in weight, have been “remarkably successful at reproducing and propagating,” according to National Geographic.
The species is now estimated to number in the millions in Australia, with a range of thousands of square miles in the northeastern part of the country, according to research from the University of Western Australia.
The cane toad’s diet consists mostly of insects, but it will eat almost anything, including reptiles, birds, and even small mammals.
“They are opportunists,” the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said in a press release about Toadzilla.
The warty amphibian can secrete a milky venom from the parotid glands behind its shoulders that can be fatal to wildlife. Cane toads are also particularly dangerous to dogs that bite the amphibian and ingest the toxin.
“Eating a cane toad will cause the toxin to be absorbed much faster than simply licking it, so if your dog has bitten or consumed a cane toad, it’s essential that you take him to a vet immediately,” according to green cross vets in Australia.
Even with the excitement and curiosity surrounding the huge cane toad, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science announced the Twitter that Toadzilla was “euthanized due to the environmental damage they cause”. Toadzilla has now been taken to the Queensland Museum for further analysis as to whether it is really the world’s largest recorded cane toad.
“We are pleased to have removed it from the national park,” Gray said.
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