Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Species of the Day: Cane Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo marinus
Adult Size: Usually measure up to 8 inches in total length, with one specimen recorded as 15 inches long.
Range: Native to the extreme southern United States and Central and South America. Introduced in the islands of the Pacific, the Caribbean and most notoriously in Australia.
Habitat: Inhabits both tropical and semi-arid environments
The Cane toad, also known as the Giant Neotropical toad or Marine toad, is a large, terrestrial toad native to Central and South America and southern Texas, but has been introduced to various islands throughout the Pacific and the Caribbean. The Cane toad is a prolific breeder and an opportunistic feeder. It will eat both dead and living matter, and there large size allows them a much greater prey variety. They will eat anything that they can overpower, including vertebrates. The Cane toad, along with their tadpoles, are also highly toxic, possessing poison glands in the lumps behind their eyes. Because of their voracious appetites, they have been introduced to many habitats to combat crop-damaging insects, but this plan has had catastrophic effects, especially in Australia. The Cane toads would compete for food and breeding areas with native amphibians, easily pushing them out and taking over. Also, because they are so toxic, they have no predators to keep down their exploding numbers. If you are going to keep these toads, take care that they are never allowed to escape and never release them into the wild.
The Cane toad can be kept simply in captivity when provided with a few basic requirements. A large plastic storage bin will work as an enclosure, with the lid being modified to allow for proper ventilation. Of course, a large aquarium a minimum of 35 gallons works just as well, but will be more expensive. Damp paper towels provide a suitable substrate, but will have to be changed frequently. Two to four inches of peat moss or ground coconut husk will also work well for a substrate. A large water bowl will also be necessary to ensure proper hydration. Room temperatures in the mid to upper 70s are suitable for this species, with higher temperatures being avoided, as this can stress the animal. Cane toads eat a variety of food under captive conditions. As with many amphibian species, they can be maintained solely on crickets. Supplementing crickets with Super Worms, Earthworms, large Silk Worms and captive-reared Tomato Hornworms will ensure that the toad will maintain proper body weight. The diet can also be occasionally supplemented by pinky or fuzzy mice, but not too often to prevent obesity.