As we now well know, this was not at all the case. Not only were cane toads thoroughly uninterested in the beetles wrecking havoc throughout the land, but they went on to cause some pretty impressive havoc themselves; fornicating in the frantic fashion usually more pleasingly reserved in our imaginations for the slightly less hideous-looking of animal species…rabbits, monkeys, Hollywood stars and the like.
Such is the case, that now the common Australian street may sport a toad or five come dusk; more so if you live close to water or bushland.
My house is of the latter variety. Attractively bordered by a river by day, until night settles and the occasional warty toad is caught in the car headlights as I round the corner, returning from work.
Now, while I thank my current love affair continent and future travel destination for such gifts to humanity as potatoes, cocoa, tomatoes, amazing beef, Brazilian waxes and Lionel Messi’s right foot…I do have to draw the line at cane toads being a necessary addition.
I would dispose of these beastly little hoppers deftly and swiftly; if only my spatial awareness and morals would let me. However, I have never quite known where exactly my wheels ARE when driving, and also believe that the buggers would suffer pain if I simply wrenched off a leg or two with my directionless swerving. Dammit. Therefore; as my over-worked morals and odd empathy prevent me from picking up a cricket bat to finish the job; the following method has served me well. And is humane, according to the few evenings I spent ‘Toad Busting’ as a child.
Henceforth, I share with you the Urban Cane Toad Action Plan.
Plastic bags, bucket, torch, rubber gloves.
1) Grab you torch and take a stroll around your neighbourhood. Upon sighting a toad, stun it with your torch, shining it right in its eyes, rabbit-in-headlights style.
2) Choice of two capture methods. Either use rubber gloves to pick the him up (while he’s stunned, he won’t jump away. Or, have a friend stun your toad while you place a bucket in front of it, causing it to jump straight in. If you’ve cornered her by a fence, so much the better as it can’t escape.
3) Tip your prize in the plastic bag. Repeat. They’re not able to jump out…thank the gods!
4) When you’ve got a bag full of toads (well, maybe a couple’s enough per bag!), tie it up tight and pop it in the freezer. Double bag it, or put it in an old ice cream container if you’re grossed out. Leave overnight. Carcasses go in wheely bins the next day.
And there ya have it! No baseball bats or golf clubs necessary. Being coldblooded, the godforsaken little creatures will die painlessly in their sleep, and you won’t have to scoop toady goo off your car or shoes the next day after a mishap with wheels or sporting equipment.
So thank you, South America, for your many gifts. But with your permission, I’ll continue exterminating this one!