Native Frog or Cane Toad

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Some species of native frog are easy to mistake with cane toads. Before you kill a cane toad, you need to make absolutely sure that it is a cane toad and not a native frog. One of the easiest ways to recognise a cane toad is by the very large poison glands on the shoulders, the dry, leathery skin and the thick ridge on the eyelids. You can also be sure you have a native frog if it has what seems like small round knobs or sucker discs on its fingers and toes for climbing.

Australia has no native true toads, even though some might be called 'toads' because they look a bit like them. Cane toads can grow to 17cm or more, but are generally between 9-13cm in length. They are not strong jumpers and tend to do several short hops as they travel, rather than a long jump.

There is an estimated 27 species of frogs that live in the Dry Tropic region and a number of these native frogs may easily be confused with cane toads. There are, however, a number of factors that will determine whether you may come across all of these species or only a few. Where you live is perhaps the most influential. If you live in a built up area the number of native frog species that you may confuse with a cane toad is minimal but as you move further away from the city into rural areas the number of native frog species that can be confused with cane toads increases. Many of these native frogs are only seen during the wet season or during their breeding season and perhaps the only time you may come across them is when you are driving on roads on a rainy night.

Juvenile cane toads often have very colourful red, yellow and darker brown patches over their back. It can be quite difficult to distinguish between some of our smaller native frog and a juvenile cane toad. If you are unsure of the difference it is best to leave them alone.

Eyes of the cane toad tadpoles are located more towards the middle of the head. Belly of native tadpoles is most often opaque silver or copper, while that of cane toads is dark bluish-black. Cane toads tadpoles are often seen swimming in very large swarms of small black tadpoles.

Cane toad eggs are in a very large tangled mass of long strands or ropes of eggs in thick jelly. The most commonly seen eggs of native frog in ponds and creek pools are white foamy clumps that float on the surface.

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