Toad Busting Hand or Collection
ToadBusting is the term used to describe the hand collection of cane toads, just picking them up. Whether it is in your backyard or out bush it works because certain aspects of cane toad behaviour make them vulnerable to this type of control.
It is effective because cane toads usually sit out in the open looking for food and are fairly easy to approach and catch. They are not secretive or quick moving like most native frogs. A small net can be helpful but we just use our hands, gloves optional.
Cane Toads also need water and this forces them to congregate around water bodies, especially in the dry season. This means they are grouped in areas where we can find them and because they sit in the open to feed toadBusting can get rid of large numbers of them
With bright spotlights at night cane toads can be found and removed in large numbers. With small groups of people working together you can make a huge difference, even eradicating toads from a location.
Hand capture involves people picking up Cane Toads at night. The toadBusts need to be planned to maximise their impact and need to be repeated in an area multiple times in succession, as not all toads are active on any given night and they come to the waters edge at different times of the night.
As an example we have cleared a water body of toads soon after dark and then returned at about midnight and found more toads, a lot less than the first time, but 10 to 20 %
Often multiple passes through an area can be made on a given night to help overcome this. We sometimes send two groups around the water body, one each way. We also do two sites close together by a group doing one site and then the other.
The other issue is some toads do not come out of their refuges on a given night. Research indicates they come out about every third night but always before 6 nights. (They may be out more than this in the hot dry season when they are desperate for water and hungry as well! If a toad has had a good feed and has rehydrated the night before chances are it will be inactive the next night and stay in its refuge.
To counteract this it is best to bust an area on successive nights to maximise your impact.
Powerful spotlights and batteries, safety equipment are essential. We organise people into groups and they pick up the cane toads and put them into big heavy duty plastic bags and bring them to the collection point. In one toadBust, using an exclusion fence, we collected over 4500 toads at one spot in about 3 hours.
We use hand help 12 volt 35 or 50 watt spotlights connected to a sealed rechargeable battery. We get a lot of our batteries form a company that services computer UPS and security alarm systems. 12 volt 7 amp hr batteries work well. The battery can be in a backpack, bum bag, or a bag you carry.