Australian wildlife taught to shun cane toads
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's native animals are being fed nauseating sausages of cane toad meat in a bid to train them against eating the foul, toxic species as it spreads into new areas, researchers said Tuesday.
Cane toads, a warty, leathery creature with a venom sac on their heads toxic enough to kill snakes and crocodiles, are advancing across north-western Australia at a speed of 50km a year.
They were first introduced to Australia from Hawaii to control scarab beetle populations in the 1930s and have now reached pest proportions, breeding prolifically and with few predators.
Native animals, particularly small marsupials and lizards, will die if they eat a full-grown adult and conservationists are attempting to give them a repellent first taste of toad to train them against seeing it as food.