A “monster cane toad” equal in weight to some newborn human babies has been discovered by Australian rangers in North Queensland.
The gigantic cane toad, which was named “Toadzilla”, was found by rangers in Queensland’s Conway National Park and weighed in at 2.7kg (almost 6lbs), which could possibly be a new world record, Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science said on Friday.
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Ranger Kylee Gray was travelling through the park last week when a snake slithering across a path forced her vehicle to stop. Stepping out of the vehicle, Gray said she was confronted by a cane toad whose sheer size made her gasp.
“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” Gray said in a statement.
“We dubbed it Toadzilla and quickly put it into a container so we could remove it from the wild,” she said.
“A cane toad that size will eat anything it can fit into its mouth and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals,” Gray said, adding that Toadzilla was believed to be a female.
Australia’s ABC news quoted Gray as saying the toad looked “almost like a football with legs”.
The enormous size of the toad, which was discovered at an elevation of 393 metres (1,289 feet), has led to much interest among park rangers and further afield.
“The Queensland Museum is interested in taking her as she might be the largest on record,” Gray said, adding that cane toads can live for up to 15 years.
Toadzilla’s life was cut short, however. The ABC reported on Friday that the toad was “euthanised” and was due to be sent to the Queensland Museum in Brisbane.
Cane toads are a non-native species introduced to Australia in 1935 – from South and Central America – to control pest beetles in Queensland’s sugarcane industry before the use of agricultural chemicals.
They are capable of poisoning predators that try to eat them and “there is no broadscale way to control” cane toads, which are now found throughout northern Australia and are moving westward at an estimated range of 40 to 60 km (approximately 25 to 37 miles) per year, according to the Australian government.
Female cane toads can produce up to 30,000 eggs in a season.