Norman the cane toad
Brrurk! Howdy folks. I'm Norman the cane toad.
Even though I am officially regarded as a pest in Australia, I think I'm one of the country's success stories.
From just 102 of my ancestors who were imported into Australia from Hawaii in 1935, cane toads now number in the millions.
Why we were brought to Australia
My ancestors were brought to Gordonvale in Queensland in 1935 to try to get rid of cane beetles, which were a pest in the sugar cane fields at that time.
It's not our fault that the experiment went wrong. You see, we don't mind the taste of cane beetles, but the cane beetles lived high up the cane stalks, and we can only jump a few centimetres. I mean, really, how were we supposed to get up to the beetles! We had to find other things to eat.
What do I eat?
I eat almost anything around the creek that will fit in my mouth. Moths, beetles, bees, ants, crickets, small snakes — I will even eat dog food if I find it in someone's back yard.
We have helped drive out most of the frogs from the creek because we not only eat the same food that frogs like, but we sometimes even eat the frogs.
We are poisonous to most animals, so most leave us alone. If I see a threat I will turn side on, so my parotoid glands are aimed at the foe. I can spray a fine mist for a short distance, and to humans this may cause intense pain, temporary blindness, and inflammation.
Where do I sleep and live?
I am active after the sun has gone down and during the night in warm months.
During winter and on most days I shelter in moist crevices in rocks, under plants, and in hollows I dig out around logs or in debris.
I can hide very well, and even camouflage myself on certain types of backgrounds. Just look how well my nephew Kikki blends with the moist pebbles in the photo above.
Feed me and I will keep growing
If there is a lot of food around I will just keep getting bigger. I may reach 25 centimetres (10 inches) and weigh as much as 4 kilograms (8 pounds). Mrs Cane-Toad and I sometimes produce more than 30,000 eggs in a single spawning.
Yes, it's a good life being a cane toad. And we will probably keep spreading further around Australia unless someone finds a way to get rid of us. The only thing we eat that kills us is lavender beetles. Frogs don't eat lavender beetles, so I hope no one starts feeding those to us soon. I like it at Calamvale Creek.
— Norman the cane toad