Cane toads were introduced to Australia in the 1930s in a failed attempt at biological control of the cane beetle. They have since colonised much of northern Australia and first appeared in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in 2009. Cane toads are a declared pest and pose a serious threat to native wildlife due to their toxicity when consumed. Many native predator species have declined in the wake of the cane toad invasion. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) are committed to reducing the impact on native wildlife through investing in several programs to mitigate the impact of cane toads.


Graphic promotion - help protect native species, don't take a toad up the road
Help protect native species don't take a toad up the road

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Cane toad identification

Cane toads are easily mistaken for native frogs. If you think you have found a cane toad, send a clear photo to 0400 693 807 for instant identification and look for the three distinguishing features

  1. Bony M shaped ridge on the nose
  2. Dry warty skin
  3. Large paratoid (poison) glands

Cane toads can hitchhike

Cane toads are great stowaways and can easily be transported in your goods and luggage. If you've visited an area where cane toads are present, particularly if you are travelling to an area without cane toads, check your load for a toad.

Cane toads can hide in many places including:

  • Boxes, crates and pallets
  • Building materials
  • Camping equipment (tarps, tents, swags and chairs)
  • Vehicles, trailers and caravans
  • Boats (under the floor, bait boxes, eskies or engine wells,
  • Pipes (such as rod holders and conduit)
  • Potted plants and garden equipment

If you have found a confirmed cane toad, see below for how to humanely dispose of it. 

Conditioned Taste Aversion

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions is working with Macquarie university and a coalition of research, conservation and land management organisations in an attempt to train native predators not to eat cane toads on a landscape scale across the Kimberley.

Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) involves training predators such as goannas and northern quolls not to eat toads before the main toad invasion front arrives. It works by teaching animals that eating a small non lethal cane toad or a cane toad sausage laced with a nausea inducing chemical will make it sick (like getting food poisoning). This experience won’t kill the animal but it will remember that negative experience and hopefully won’t eat any more toads – of any size. If the predators can learn to avoid cane toads before the big, lethal toads arrive, they can survive the cane toad invasion.


cane toad sausage baits
Cane toad sausage baits made from the skinned back legs of cane toads is mixed with a nausea inducing chemical. The sausages are delivered before toads arrive in an area by helicopter to quoll populations in the hope that they will eat one, and have a bad experience like food poisoning and avoid eating a cane toad in the future.

Want to help?

To deliver CTA across the landscape takes a lot of toad meat to make a lot of sausages!  If you want to help protect native animals by collecting toad meat for our sausages, please let us know by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How to dispose of a cane toad

Cane toads are introduced pests and are toxic to native animals and domestic pets when consumed. If you wish to remove them from your property, the only humane method of euthanasia is cooling and freezing. The following steps are recommended.

  1. Confirm it is a cane toad
  2. Place it in a container with a secure lid or plastic bag. Do not touch the toad with bare hands
  3. Put the container or bag in a refrigerator for 4 hours to anaesthetise the toad
  4. Put the container or bag in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill the toad without pain.
  5. Dispose of the container with your normal garbage.
Be careful when handling cane toads—toxin produced from their shoulder glands is present in the skin of the back. Wash your hands well and use gloves if possible. If the toxin gets in your eyes, nose or mouth seek medical attention. For first aid advice on toad poisoning, call the 24-hour Poisons Information Line on 13 11 26.
Handling cane toads graphic
Graphic depicting the handling and disposal of cane toads


The Cane Toad team deliver a fantastic range of education programs in schools across Western Australia. Delivery can be online or face to face in the classroom. If you are interested in our education programs please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pets and cane toads

Cane toads can be toxic to pets if eaten. Care should be taken to keep pets and cane toads separate. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned by a cane toad, call your vet immediately. See our fact sheet Pets and cane toads for more information.

Report cane toads ahead of the frontline

If you see a cane toad somewhere unexpected, it is important to report it. Text a clear photo and send to 0400 693 807 for instant identification and go to to report where you saw it. See the map below for the latest known frontline in the Kimberley.

For more information regarding safety and what you need to be aware of please visit

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Have you found a friendly native frog? Monday, 23 June 2014 15:50