Cane toad sighting in Medowie confirmed by DPI

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is urging Port residents to be on the look out for cane toads after one was found and removed from Medowie on Monday.

The sighting of a cane toad, which is considered a pest in Australia and is poisonous to pets and can harm humans, in Medowie comes weeks after two were found near Maitland, one of which killed a small family dog.

"These occasional, isolated incidents do happen from time to time as cane toads can easily be transported accidentally from areas of northern NSW and Queensland where they are endemic," a DPI spokesperson said.

"DPI takes sightings of cane toads outside their endemic range seriously, and work with local agencies to respond to all reports.

"A cane toad was found at Metford on January 21 in a backyard.

"The toad and a pet dog were both deceased when found.

"Another cane toad was found on January 16 in a resident’s yard.

"The Medowie cane toad has been euthanised."

Animal lover and long-time Medowie resident Nerrida Bednar knew almost straight away she had found a cane toad when she spotted it outside of her workplace about 4am on February 25.

While she suspected the creature, found in the driveway of Medowie Public School, was a cane toad she took some photos and posted them in a native wildlife Facebook page seeking opinions.

The overwhelming consensus was cane toad.

The photos don't do him justice. He was about as big as my hand. He was a big boy.

- Nerrida Bednar

"He moved in the middle of the driveway and buffed himself right up," Ms Bednar said.

"That's when I realised it wasn't a normal frog.

"He was pretty big. The photos don't do him justice. He was about as big as my hand. He was a big boy.

"I love frogs. There's a fair few around here. They love living in the toilets. I normally just pick them up and move them into the garden.

"This one… I wasn't touching it. I just swept it into a box.

"I've been here 39 years and in 39 years I've never seen a cane toad. That was my first ever cane toad.

"I hope it's just the one, that its hitched a ride from up north and there's no others."

Ms Bednar carefully caught the cane toad in a box, reported it to DPI and delivered it to a Medowie veterinarian.

She said by the time she delivered it to the clinic the box was wet due to the amount of toxins it had released.

The cane toad was then delivered it to a Raymond Terrace vet clinic where tests were done to find out sex and type. Afterwards, it was humanely destroyed.

Medowie Public School was also notified about the find.

The back of the cane toad found in Medowie. Picture: Nerrida Bednar

The back of the cane toad found in Medowie. Picture: Nerrida Bednar

Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in 1935 in an attempt to control the native grey-backed cane beetle and French's beetle.

Since their release, cane toads have rapidly multiplied in population.

Cane toads are considered a pest in Australia because they poison pets and injure humans with their toxin, poison native animals whose diet includes frogs, tadpoles and frogs' eggs, eat large numbers of honey bees, prey on native fauna, compete for food with vertebrate insectivores such as small skinks and may carry diseases that are can be transmitted to native frogs and fishes.

It was the poison from a cane toad that killed a Metford family's French Bulldog in January.

The DPI advised residents who believed they had found a cane toad against harming it.

"Don’t harm the animal as it might be a native frog," the DPI spokesperson said.

"Contain it if you can do so safely - wear gloves, glasses and long sleeves - and we’ll help you work out what it is."

If you see an animal you suspect is a cane toad take photos and report it to: dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/sighting.

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