A colossal cane toad – measuring twice the length of a man’s hand and weighing just under two pounds – was recently discovered in northern Australia. Just one lick of Toadzilla’s dry, warty skin is potent enough to kill a snake in seconds.
While not every cane toad grows to be this monstrous in size, they all are poisonous. Cane toad venom is secreted from the parotid glands above its shoulders. This milky liquid is a lethal cocktail that predominantly targets the heart. Predators that taste the poisons will quickly suffer from extreme salivation, convulsions, paralysis and even death.
But a cane toad’s toxicity and size isn’t the only reason it’s an odd animal. The cane toad is also highly invasive, contributing to the decline of amphibian species and predatory snakes, lizards and crocodiles in their habitats. Cane toads are prolific breeders and grow at an accelerated rate – just one clutch can contain up to 35,000 eggs. And while other amphibian species’ eggs incubate in water for several weeks, cane toad-poles hatch and swim in just 24 hours, hunting long before native frogs. Combined with their long life span and ability to travel 30 miles a year, millions of toxic cane toads are taking over national forests, neighborhood parks and even backyards.
Learn about how cane toads are destroying Australia’s ecosystems.
Discover more unique species by watching More Animal Oddities on Nat Geo WILD Wednesday, September 22 at 7PM ET.