How to keep Cane Toads out of a pond

Cane Toads love ponds – and while they are not native to any areas of Australia, they’re certainly making themselves at home. Cane Toads (Bufo marinus) are a pest in all parts of Australia – and you should always discourage them from taking up residence in your pond.

There are 3 ways to keep toads out of your pond.

Make it an above ground pond, at least 60cm high with vertical walls. The downside to this though, is that some breeds of native frog don’t like this set up either, so by excluding the toads, you are also excluding any ground dwelling frogs.
Install a ‘Toad Fence’ around the pond itself or the yard. For an ‘inground pond’, it needs to extend to 60cm above the pond height, and about 20cm deep below the ground. You can plant low shrubs or heliconias around it to disguise it, so it needn’t look unsightly.

Removal. Do a ‘toad patrol’ every other night and remove any toads and their eggs. In Australia, toad eggs are easy to identify, as they look very different to frog eggs. While frogs lay their eggs in clumps or frothy mats (looking like a lump of foam or frothed up soap) on the water surface, or attached to a leaf or rock, toads lay their eggs within long strands of clear gel – they look at bit like small black pearls inside a clear plastic tube.

While toad eggs can tangle and give the appearance of being clumped up, they are still in strands - if you use a stick to pick them up, you will see that they fall easily into long strands.

The toad eggs will hatch within 24- 48 hours, so you really do need to check daily. To dispose of them, you can leave them on the lawn to dry in the sun, or just put them in the compost.

If you’ve missed the egg stage, and you are not sure if you have tadpoles or ‘toadpoles’, its best to simply leave them to grow for a bit – all toadpoles begin to metamorph at 30mm in length, so if your mystery ‘poles’ are 35mm or longer, they are frogs!

If you need to dispose of  juvenile or adult toads, please do it humanely. Don’t hit them, or spray chemicals on them. The most humane way to dispose of Cane Toads is to catch them and place them into a secure plastic container (with airholes) and put them into the freezer. A take out container is perfect – just punch several airholes in it, and place the toad in the freezer. You can either leave it there until bin day, or take it out after 48 hours and bury it in the backyard.

Before disposing of any toads though, please be certain it is a toad, and not an unfortunate looking frog. There are several species of frog which closely resemble toads, and are often victims of mistaken identity, such as the Marbled Burrowing frog and Giant Pobblebonk.

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