The Cane Toad (Bufo marinus), also known as the Giant Neotropical Toad or Marine Toad, is a large, terrestrial true toad which is native to Central and South America, but has been introduced to various islands throughout Oceania and the Caribbean. It is a member of the subgenus Rhinella of the genus Bufo, which includes many different true toad species found throughout Central and South America. The cane toad is a prolific breeder; females lay single-clump spawns with thousands of eggs. Its reproductive success is partly because of opportunistic feeding: it has a diet, unusual among Anurans, of both dead and living matter. Adults average 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) in length; the largest recorded specimen weighed 2.65 kilograms (5.8 lb) with a length of 38 cm (15 in) from snout to vent.
Tha cane toad is an old species. A fossil toad (specimen UCMP 41159) from the La Venta fauna of the late Miocene of Colombia is indistinguishable from modern cane toads from northern South America. It was discovered in a floodplain deposit, which suggest that marinus habitat preferences have always been for open areas.
The cane toad has poison glands, and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Because of its voracious appetite, the cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of agricultural pest control. The species derives its common name from its use against the cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum). The cane toad is now considered a pest and an invasive species in many of its introduced regions; of particular concern is that its toxic skin kills many animals—native predators and otherwise—when ingested.
The skin of the cane toad is dry and warty. It has distinct ridges above the eyes, which run down the snout. Individual cane toads can be grey, yellowish, red-brown or olive-brown, with varying patterns. A large parotoid gland lies behind each eye. The ventral surface is cream-coloured and may have blotches in shades of black or brown. The pupils are horizontal and the irises golden. The toes have a fleshy webbing at their base, and the fingers are free of webbing. The cane toad is very large; the females are significantly longer than males, reaching an average length of 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in). "Prinsen", a toad kept as a pet in Sweden, is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest recorded specimen. It reportedly weighed 2.65 kilograms (5.84 lb) and measured 38 cm (15 in) from snout to vent, or 54 cm (21 in) when fully extended. Larger toads tend to be found in areas of lower population density. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years in the wild, and can live considerably longer in captivity, with one specimen reportedly surviving for 35 years.
The juvenile cane toad is much smaller than the adult cane toad at 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) long. Typically, they have smooth, dark skin, although some specimens have a red wash. Juveniles lack the adults' large parotoid glands, so they are usually less poisonous. The tadpoles are small and uniformly black, and are bottom-dwellers, tending to form schools. Tadpoles range from 10 to 25 mm (0.39 to 0.98 in) in length.
Most frogs identify prey by movement, and vision appears to be the primary method by which the cane toad detects prey; however, the cane toad can also locate food using its sense of smell. They eat a wide range of material; in addition to the normal prey of small rodents, reptiles, other amphibians, birds and a range of invertebrates, they also eat plants, dog food and household refuse. Cane toads have a habit of swallowing their prey.
In the UKEdit
Like in other countries this toad is a pest to the UK. As it makes competion for the native amphibians. But there are so far only 10 breeding pairs in the UK. Most on the borders on Wales and a few down South. There's a small colony that used to be bigger but is shrinking in southwest England. Naturalists are worried that the number of breeding pairs will go up rapidly because they are no match for the native amphibians. But due to ther usual hot climate they are likely to not bable to survive our cold winters there for there not likely to establish a large heathly poulation here in the UK