- Australian park rangers spotted a possibly record-breaking giant cane toad last week.
- Dubbed “Toadzilla,” she weighed 5.95 pounds, six times the average for her species.
- Cane toads were introduced to Australia in 1935 and are considered pests by the authorities.
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Park rangers in Australia have spotted what may be the largest cane toad on record and dubbed it Toadzilla in honor of its size.
Ranger Kylee Gray was clearing a path in Conway National Park last week when she had to exit her vehicle because a snake blocked her path, according to the Queensland Department for Environment and Science.
Then Gray looked down and saw Toadzilla.
“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” Gray said, according to the department.
The monster cane toad weighed 5.95 pounds, six times the weight of an average cane toad.
“We think it’s a female because of the size, and female cane toads grow larger than males,” Gray said.
Gray and her team put Toadzilla in a container and retrieved them from the wild, she said.
“A cane toad this size will eat anything it can fit in its mouth, and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals,” she added.
Toadzilla, with scale pen. Queensland Department of Environment and Science
Cane toads are native to South and Central America, but 2,400 of them were introduced to Australia in 1935 to deal with beetles destroying Queensland’s sugar cane crops. The population of cane toads has since exploded in Australia to an estimated 200 million, and they are considered pests by the Australian government.
These toads are poisonous, emitting venom from glands on their shoulders when provoked. As cane toads proliferated in Australia’s wilderness, predator numbers in some national parks began to decline.
Some of them are known to grow almost as large as Toadzilla, but specimens their weight are rare, according to the Environment and Science Department.
“I’m not sure how old she is, but cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild,” Gray said. “So this one has been around for a long time. We are glad to have removed them from the national park.”
However, Toadzilla will not grow any larger. Because her species was officially classified as a pest, Toadzilla was euthanized, the Environment and Science Department told Insiders on Friday.
She was also not officially independently weighed, a department spokesman said.
“We didn’t get it on certified scales,” Gray told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “So we kind of kick ourselves.”
In the meantime, Toadzilla can be donated to the Queensland Museum, which has expressed an interest in taking the toad, according to the department.
The largest known toad was a pet male in Sweden named Prinsen, or The Prince, who weighed 5.84 pounds in 1991, according to Guinness World Records.