When she picked up the creature, she was holding a monster cane toad that she believes could be the largest of its kind in the world. This was the first time Gray met the large, poisonous amphibian she’d soon be calling “Toadzilla.”
“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” she said in a statement from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
After weighing the cane toad (nearly 6 pounds), and concluding that it is a female since they weigh more than their male counterparts, Gray said she considered naming the toad “Connie.” But upon further consideration, Gray said, she thought the cane toad looked more like a “Godzilla,” the fictional monster that wreaks havoc on Japan, than a Connie.
“We dubbed it Toadzilla, and quickly put it into a container so we could remove it from the wild,” Gray said.
Now, Australian officials are trying to determine whether Toadzilla could be the largest of its species. When the rangers returned to base Jan. 12, they weighed Toadzilla at 5.95 pounds, which could be a new world record. The largest toad on record was recorded in March 1991 after Prinsen, a pet cane toad in Sweden, weighed in at 5.13 pounds and measured at 1 foot 9 inches when fully extended, according to Guinness World Records.
While Toadzilla’s age is unclear, cane toads can live for up to 15 years in the wild, which made park officials believe that “this one has been around for a long time.”
“She has created a lot of interest among our ranger staff due to her size,” Gray said in a statement.
Native to South America and mainland Central America, the cane toad was introduced into Queensland in 1935 to help control the cane beetle population. However, in the decades since it was introduced, the amphibian has not only failed to control the insects but has also become one of the worst invasive species in the world. The cane toad, which has an average weight of almost 3 pounds, has been “remarkably successful in reproducing and spreading themselves,” according to National Geographic.
The species is estimated to now be in the millions in Australia, with a range of thousands of square miles in the northeastern part of the country, according to research from the University of Western Australia.
The cane toad’s diet mainly consists of insects, but they will eat just about anything, including reptiles, birds and even small mammals.
“They are opportunists,” the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said in a news release about Toadzilla.
The warty amphibian can secrete a milky poison from their parotid glands behind their shoulders that can be fatal to wildlife. Cane toads are also particularly dangerous to dogs that eat the amphibian and ingest the toxin.
“Eating a cane toad will result in the toxin absorbing much quicker than just licking, so if your dog has bitten or consumed a cane toad, it is essential that you take them to a vet immediately,” according to Greencross Vets in Australia.
Even with the excitement and curiosity surrounding the huge cane toad, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science announced on Twitter that Toadzilla was “euthanized due to the environmental damage they cause.” Toadzilla has now been taken to the Queensland Museum for further analysis on whether she is indeed the world’s largest recorded cane toad.
“We’re pleased to have removed her from the national park,” Gray said.
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