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AUS Press: Cane toads great hitchhikers

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Sat Dec 26 13:50:58 2009  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

BRISBANE TIMES (Australia) 16 December 09 Cane toads 'the great hitchhikers' (Daniel Hurst)
It may seem to be the stuff of legends - a cane toad hitching a ride from Queensland to Victoria on a palm tree shipment.
But experts say the discovery of the unlikely visitor to Melbourne last week shows why the reviled creatures deserve to be known as "the great hitchhikers".
Victorian authorities issued a statewide biosecurity alert after a 14-year-old frog enthusiast found the toad on a palm tree at a local Kmart store.
The Victorian Department of Primary Industries suspects the toad grabbed a ride on a shipment of 7000 assorted palms from a wholesaler based in the Sunshine State.
A spokeswoman for Queensland's Department of Primary Industries said the long journey was unsurprising.
"Cane toads are the great hitchhikers," she told brisbanetimes.com.au.
"They like dark and damp places."
She said cane toads were not a "declared" species in Queensland so no action could be taken against people for moving them around, but urged common sense and check items before moving them.
James Cook University cane toad expert Ross Alford agreed.
"They're pretty good at hitching rides," he said.
"It's basically things like the bases of pot plants, they get rolled up in people's swags or when they pack away tents.
"They also sometimes get carried around in the underside of pallets because that hide under there and get taken away."
Professor Alford said cane toads had spread south from Queensland into northern New South Wales, but most experts believed they could not survive in Victoria because of the colder climate.
The Victorian DPI's landscape protection manager, Brendan Roughead, said the chance of toads establishing there was low.
Investigations by Kmart staff and DPI officers had found no trace of any other cane toads, he said.
Cane toads 'the great hitchhikers'


   

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