Friday, 10 December 2010

cane toads

These guys were imported to Australia by the government in a (failed) attempt to make a biological control system for the Sugar Cane industry (also built on an imported plant).

The Cane toad is not only an effective breeder but has no natural enemies in Australia. As they are also a poisonous toad handling them can be dangerous.

Most Australians know to kill as many of these creatures as you can (which still won't be enough) as they spread and populate the continent. The image below shows a native python engaged in a typical way of killing its prey before eating it. Sadly it was a cane toad, which as I mentioned above are poisonous.

shortly after this the snake died ... before even trying to eat the toad.

This highlights why these creatures are deadly to Australian wildlife and are quite a massive threat to our ecosystem.

Australians employ all manner of methods for killing them. Clubbing, spearing, burning ... the list of horror goes on.

Rather than condone creating suffering I prefer to kill the toads I find by putting them in a plastic bag and putting them into the freezer. There they quietly go to sleep and well after they are unconscious the freezing process kills them.

You can then take them out of the freezer and put the bag in the bin.

Just be sure to label them clearly, as you don't want to be looking for some chicken for dinner and thaw out a cane toad by mistake ;-)

photo info
The above photo was taken with my EOS system and 35mm film. I used my TS-E 90mm (my favourite lens) to allow me to keep DoF along the snake and keep the aperture open more to maintain shallow depth of field. If you look carefully you can see that the plane of focus goes from the bottom left corner, up through the snake, and out to the mid right. Only a 4x5 field camera would enable better control over the focal plane than this. Gosh I liked that lens, but as I transited to digital I sold the TS-E lenses as they just didn't translate to smaller sensors well. Perhaps I'll get some again if I go for a 5D or other full frame camera.

Who knows...


LensBubbles said...

Hasty decision could have disastrous results, as in your example of cane toad.

TS lenses always intrigue me, but never think I could make use of them to justify the expenses. Perhaps one day, I will try them.

Charles Maclauchlan said...

there are stories of imported animals everywhere, usually leading to overpopulation as there are no natural enemies, quite destructive. Not always poisonous though. Even so we are still making long lasting decisions based upon the science du jour though. Incredible.

Don't eat the poison frog in your freezer.

Noons said...

And they are now as far South as the NSW Central Coast, with some folks reporting having seen them in the Hawkesbury...
With the latest floods, for sure some will end up in the Murray eco-system.
Awesome photo! I've been so tempted to get one of those TS lenses. There are some from the Russian stable, quite acceptable for the price.