In 1935 the Australian government introduced 101 cane toads into far north Queensland in a bid to eradicate a species of sugar cane beetle. It is estimated that Australia is now home to 200 million cane toads.
It’s difficult to imagine a summer without the sound of cane toads purring throughout the night. There is a definite incongruity between their pleasant sound and the damage they wreak on the Australian ecosystem. The poisonous glands on each shoulder of the cane toad are responsible for the drop in numbers of snakes and lizards, fresh-water crocodiles, quolls, and birds. Their toxicity in the tadpole stage has also seen a decline in native frogs and fish. With female cane toads laying between 8,000 to 30,000 eggs at a time they have become one of Australia’s greatest environmental disasters.
The cane toad has no natural predator.
In this sound piece field recordings of cane toads have been layered alongside recordings of the spur-winged pluver, a bird which shares the same habitat as the toad.