Mammoth "Toadzilla," the World's Biggest Cane Toad, Caught By Rangers And Euthanized
Cane toads are considered pests in Australia.
Australian park rangers found what is believed to be the largest toad ever caught, giving the hefty creature the highly appropriate moniker of Toadzilla. Weighing in at 2.7kg (5.9lb), the gigantic amphibian was captured in Queensland's Conway National Park, which is approximately 560 miles north of Brisbane.
"I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn't believe how big and heavy it was," says ranger Kylee Gray. Unfortunately, Toadzilla was not long for this world—here's why the rangers ended up euthanizing the record-breaking creature.
Toadzilla was found by accident when rangers slowed their vehicle down to avoid a snake that had slithered onto the road, the UK Times reports. Gray spotted the massive creature and immediately put it into a plastic container. "A cane toad that size will eat anything it can fit into its mouth, and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals," she said.
Cane toads are considered an invasive pest in Australia, where they were first introduced to help control beetles in sugar plantations. The toads soon multiplied and became a danger to other animals, such as birds, snakes, lizards, and quolls. Cane toads also present a threat to household pets such as dogs and cats, which might attack them and be injured by the toad's poisonous glands.
Toadzilla was found in a tropical forest at 400 ft elevation. "We believe it's a female due to the size, and female cane toads do grow bigger than males," says the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. "Female toads can produce up to 30,000 eggs in a season."
A Department of Environment and Science spokesman confirms the toad was humanely euthanized. Researchers believe the kindest way to do this is to put the toad in a fridge for a few hours, then transfer it to a freezer for a painless death.
The remains of the toad are expected to be housed in the Queensland museum, thanks to its record-breaking stature. Toadzilla breaks the previous weight record of a 2.65kg male cane toad found in Sweden in 1991.