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Cane toad a lone wolf

Four intensive surveys of the creeks and waterways of Catalina have established a cane toad found there in February was likely a lone invader.

Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Invasive Species Officer Paul Martin said a professional frog expert was brought in after the male cane toad was heard by the Benjamin family in the creek backing their Catalina home.

Using a recording of the cane toad’s own call, the Benjamins were able to attract and catch the noxious pest the following evening.

Eurobodalla Shire Council took immediate action to counter the biological threat, working with the Local Lands Service to survey the area.

“We found hundreds of native frogs - which is great - but no sign of any other cane toads,” Mr Martin said.

“We’ve had some reports of cane toads in the shire but so far they have all turned out to mostly be native frogs. Bibron’s toadlet can superficially look like a juvenile cane toad, as can Peron’s tree frog - we’ve had quite a few reports of those guys.”

Mr Martin urged residents to remain vigilant and to report any unusual sightings or calls, but not to kill frogs they may find.

“A lot of our tree frogs are actually brown and they don’t look like those green tree frogs that you see on the postcards. They’re really special little frogs, so we don’t want people killing them,” he said.

“You can get the Frog ID app on your phone and record their call, or you could take a photograph and send it to us.

“With the climate warming up, cane toads could establish a population here. We were very lucky this was a male - a female can lay a staggering 30,000 eggs at a time.”

It’s thought the toad hitch-hiked into the area.

Mr Martin praised the Benjamins’ for their quick work.

“It’s a great example of citizen science protecting our shire,” he said.

Above: (file photo) A cane toad found in Catalina earlier this year was likely a lone invader. Citizen scientists the Benjamin family (far right) with Council staff  and members of the Eurobodalla Natural History group surveyed nearby creeks on the lookout for more of the noxious pests

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