back to article TOADOCALYPSE NOW: Madagascar faces down amphibious assault

A group of scientists has urged the Madagascan government to take up arms against the Asian common toad - a poisonous relative of the infamous cane toad which has gained a foothold on the Indian Ocean island. In a letter to Nature, Jonathan Kolby of Oz's James Cook University, together with 11 other researchers, warn that …


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  1. Mtech25

    Nuke it from Orbit

    The only way to be sure

    1. Joe Harrison

      Re: Nuke it from Orbit

      Or we could send a robot back through time to terminate the frogspawn?

      Seriously, it's scary how easy it is to upset the balance like this.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nuke it from Orbit

        "Let's croak us some toads!"

        Where's Bucky O' Hare when he's needed?

  2. NorthernCoder

    Did you forget the <irony> tag?

    "local snakes, lizards and other defenceless animals."

    Surely, Australian snakes are anything but defenseless?!?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Did you forget the <irony> tag?

      Oz has some rather interesting big lizards, too

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Did you forget the <irony> tag?

      THe Snakes are struggling, but apparently the Spiders are fighting back.

      1. Bsquared

        Re: Did you forget the <irony> tag?

        "THe Snakes are struggling, but apparently the Spiders are fighting back."

        Thanks for the link. It gives me some hope that the slimy little f*ckers won't lay waste to the entire continent. Unlike the excellent, funny, but rather bleak doco "Cane Toads: The Invasion" which seemed to offer little hope.....

        Looks like lots of australian species are discovering their love of poisonous toad (well, we're known for our fusion cuisine after all). I particularly liked this one:

        "the Australian crow (Corvus orru), which has adapted by eating them from the underbelly to avoid the venom"

    3. dan1980

      Re: Did you forget the <irony> tag?


      Well, they're defenceless against the poison that they get a gob full of when they to eat them!

      Australia never had toads before the Cane Toad was introduced so local animals never got a chance to evolve resistance (or learn avoidance) to toad poison, which is different to that of frogs. That's not for all animals of course and, while the Quoll has been hard done by, some other creatures (amongst the number, several snake species) are quite happily munch them down.

      The interesting thing is that there is an evolution occurring - with those animals that eat, get sick, but don't die, learning not to try it again and other populations where resistance is being bred into the population by the simple fact that those who die from it don't survive to breed!

      It's very interesting, but all-the-same I'd rather they never existed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did you forget the <irony> tag?

        Once again, like with climate change, man thinks he can beat nature

        the fact they can survive there and have found food means they will adapt, like most species do over time.

        when the next mass extinction occurs you can bet Aussies survive as they know how to adapt

  3. Elmer Phud

    "So, do these amphibians pose a real threat?"

    "Well, yeah, like, you know, toadally man!"

    1. NorthernCoder

      Wrong amphibian, but close enough...

      "Who let the frogs out? {Croak, croak, croak, croak}"

      1. Christoph

        Re: Wrong amphibian, but close enough...

        A really ribbiting story

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Call a traffic warden.

    Have it toad away...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The Vikings are Coming!

    Why do we always hear about how the invaders are the all-powerful destroyers of all that is good. In the UK, we're always being told that some species or other (if you read certain newspapers, this applies to races as well) threatens the local species. Why is that? Why do locals always fall foul of invaders?

    Why don't we hear about new species entering an ecological area and getting its ass served to it on a plate because the locals were too rock solid?

    Someone needs to arm the Red Squirrels......

    1. HollyHopDrive

      Re: The Vikings are Coming!

      Probably because nobody would spot it because the relatively small handful would be killed and eaten before anybody noticed or before they have chance to breed.

      Its only when they are not eaten alive that anybody pays attention.

  6. frank ly

    What happens if you squeeze it and lick its 'eyebrows'?

    Such an interesting shade of blue.

  7. Stretch

    send a bloody letter?

    Useless muppets. Sending hand-wringing letters saying "someone should do something"!

    Get a fucking stick and get out there and solve the fucking problem.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: send a bloody letter?

      "Get a fucking stick and get out there and solve the fucking problem."


  8. Down not across

    Oh....real toads

    And there I thought this was some sort of summary of the Oracle "workshops".

  9. earl grey

    sounds funny, but isn't a joke

    In the US, they have numerous invasive species that are causing problems (and not just south-o-border ones)...

    chestnut blight

    emerald ash borer

    dutch elm disease

    asian carp

    large snakes in everglades



    english sparrow


    zebra mussel

    lost track of how many more

  10. The last doughnut

    Deploy the cricket bat

    1. Swarthy


      ..Yeah, that could do it.

    2. Martin Budden Silver badge

      Cricket bats work best on crickets. For toads you'd need a toad bat, obviously.

  11. Stevie


    The correct portmanteau for this phenomena is "toadpocalypse" as any fule kno.

    Gluing "pocalypse" onto any noun produces a mellifluous and poetic effect and conveys the correct amount of terror and the appropriate levels at which the speed limit may be contravened to escape whatever it is.

    Adding "ocalypse" to a noun just makes it hard to say. By the time you've figured out how to say it rhythmically, the disaster has engulfed you, your family and whatever passes for civic infrastructure in your neck of the woods and before you know it you are shooting your neighbours and eating the dog for dinner. No-one wants that.

    1. Irony Deficient

      controversial portmanteaux?

      Stevie, it’s TOADOCALYPSEGATE!

    2. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Bah!

      You may have missed the point here. The omission of the "p" and the resulting pronuciatory difficulty gives us time to escape the *ocalypse while those further down the linguistic food chain are attempting to work it out while shooting their neighbours and eating their dogs.

  12. Stevie


    "Defenseless animals"? In Australia? Where even some of the rocks are poisonous and only a fool sits on the ground without first beating it to death with a big stick?

    1. Martin Budden Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Of course we have defenceless animals in Australia: some of the sheep.

  13. chris lively

    Don't these frogs know that your supposed to check in with customs before entry?

    Hmm. Some might call them illegal amphibians; but I'm sure they prefer "undocumented croakers"

  14. Tim Roberts 1

    Sadly in Madagascar....

    My experience suggests that there is not the infrastructure to combat threats like this. Firstly it requires education, ie what do they look like?, what's the problem?, how do I catch them?, what do I do when I catch one? Secondly I requires political will, and enormous resources.

    These two are hard enough here in Oz, but having been to Madagascar I believe they have even less chance of solving the problem. When every day is a battle for survival - in some of the places we visited, one meal a day was the norm - then it's unlikely that a toad invasion will be high on your list of priorities.

    Madagascar has another feature not seen in Oz, and that is the area covered by rice paddies - read water = good breeding grounds for toads.

    @bsquared. Yes indeed, crows do turn the toads upside down and disembowel them. It is quite a sight to see!

    If you really want to help Madagascar, go there and spend your money. It is a stunningly beautiful country, and the Malagasy people are very friendly - just don't take photos of police/army buildings or people.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Sadly in Madagascar....

      Nobody likes to admit it, but no country really has the infrastructure to deal with non-Human invaders very well. Man, for all our technology and hyper aggressiveness, is fairly defenseless against just about anything smaller than a breadbox. Large and medium size things are manageable because you can explode them for fun and profit. Little things just get rattled around in otherwise apocalyptic explosions and they get their revenge by hitching a ride in your shirt collar and establishing forward operating facilities at your house.

      It has been that way for since the Greeks were running around debt free. If you're stuck somewhere far from home just bring some critters along and before you know it you've got a little ecosystem of your own full of stuff from your native land. It's nearly impossible to stop once it has started, that's why it used to be encouraged, to remind future people's that (somebody) got here before you.

      Based on the almost universal failure of most science and tech based invasive exotic management programs, bounty programs are my preferred option. It's great because you can get kids involved in eradicating undesirable life forms and prepare them for a future of space exploration.

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