Huge cane toad found in northern Australia believed to be largest ever recorded: NPR

Kylee Gray, a forest ranger with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, holds a giant walking stick near Airlie Beach, Australia, on Jan. 12. The pad weighed 5.95 pounds.

Queensland Department of Environment and Science via AP


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Queensland Department of Environment and Science via AP

Kylee Gray, a forest ranger with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, holds a giant walking stick near Airlie Beach, Australia, on Jan. 12. The pad weighed 5.95 pounds.

Queensland Department of Environment and Science via AP

Park rangers in Northern Australia found a cane toad so gigantic it provoked gasps and disbelief.

Nicknamed “Toadzilla” by park rangers, the toad reportedly weighed in at a record 5.95 pounds — compared to an average weight of 1 pound.

Park ranger Kylee Gray saw the monster toad during track work in Conway National Park and “couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” she said in a press release.

The rangers think it’s a female toad, and while they don’t know how old it is, “this one has been around for a long time,” Gray said. Cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild.

The rangers quickly put the toad in a container to take it out of the wild and euthanize it. Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in 1935 to control the sugar cane beetle population, but became a noxious pest in their own right, colonizing habitats and poisoning other wildlife.

“A cane toad that size will eat anything that fits in its mouth, including insects, reptiles and small mammals,” Gray said.

Cane toads are native to South and Central America and have no natural predators in Australia. There may be more than 200 million cane toads on the continent – an astonishing increase from the 100 introduced less than a century ago. Because their bodies are poisonous to other species, they have driven some potential predators to local extinction.

The toad’s body will be donated to the Queensland Museum, which expressed interest as it may be the largest on record. The largest known toad to date is Prinsen, a Guinness World Record pet stick toad that clocked in at 5 pounds and 13 ounces in 1991.

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