Environmental issues

Pests and weeds

How far have they spread? Why are they a problem?

The range of the cane toad in New South Wales now extends along the coast from the Queensland border to the Iluka/Yamba area.

An isolated breeding population has established further south at Lake Innes near Port Macquarie. Sporadic records are known in other areas including Sydney. These are usually due to accidental transportation of individual toads rather than local breeding populations. If you think you have seen one, contact:

The coastal area from Yamba to Port Macquarie is considered most vulnerable to being colonised by the cane toad. We're particularly concerned to control outbreaks of cane toads in this area, to stop their southward spread and protect native wildlife.

Why cane toads are such a problem

In Australia, cane toads have no natural enemies. Their toxin can kill most native animals that normally eat frogs. They therefore pose a risk to both native fauna and pets such as cats and dogs. Cane toads can use a wide variety of habitats and thrive in urban and disturbed areas. They have a voracious appetite and can eat a lot of different foods. They also breed quickly, allowing them to rapidly colonise and dominate an area.

These abilities give cane toads a competitive advantage over native species. Native frogs control insects that may otherwise become pests and are in turn food for many native animals. Populations of many native frogs have declined severely in recent times and some species are threatened with extinction. Spread of the cane toad may increase these threats.

Page last updated: 22 April 2014