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Toadzilla, monster cane toad found in Australia, may be world’s largest

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When Kylee Gray got out of her car, she looked at the ground and gasped in disbelief.

The ranger at Conway National Park in Queensland, Australia, had stopped the vehicle last week in a wild rainforest after seeing a snake slither down the track. But what she saw next wasn’t a snake – or, for that matter, anything she had seen before.

When she picked up the creature, she was holding a monstrous toad that she thinks may be the largest of its kind in the world. It was Gray’s first time encountering the large, poisonous amphibian she would soon call “Toadzilla”.

“I bent down and grabbed the cane toad and couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” she said in a statement issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

After weighing the cane toad (nearly six pounds) and concluding it was a female since they weigh more than their male counterparts, Gray said she was considering naming the toad “Connie.” But upon reflection, Gray said she thinks that instead of a Connie, the Cane Toad looked more like a “Godzilla,” the fictional monster wreaking havoc in Japan.

“We nicknamed him Toadzilla and quickly put him in a container so we could get him out of the wild,” Gray said.

Now Australian officials are trying to determine if Toadzilla could be the tallest of its kind. When the rangers returned to base on January 12, they weighed Toadzilla at 5.95 pounds, which could be a world record. The heaviest toad on record was measured in March 1991 when Prinsen, a domesticated cane toad in Sweden, weighed 5.13 pounds and measured 1 foot 9 inches when fully extended, according to Guinness World Records.

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Although Toadzilla’s age is unclear, cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild, which made park officials think “this one has been around for a long time.”

“She has generated a lot of interest among our ranger staff due to her size,” Gray said in a statement.

Native to mainland South and Central America, the cane toad was introduced to Queensland in 1935 to help control the beetle population. However, in the decades since its introduction, the amphibian has not only failed to control insects, but has also become one of the world’s worst invasive species. Cane toads, which average nearly three pounds, have been “remarkably successful in breeding and spreading,” according to National geographic.

The species is now estimated to number in the millions in Australia, with a range of thousands of square kilometers in the northeastern part of the country, according to research by the University of Western Australia.

The cane toad’s diet consists mostly of insects, but it will eat just about anything, including reptiles, birds, and even small mammals.

“They are opportunists,” the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said in a Toadzilla press release.

The warty amphibian can secrete a milky poison from the parotid glands behind its shoulders which can be fatal to wildlife. Cane toads are also particularly dangerous to dogs that bite the amphibian and ingest the toxin.

“Eating a cane toad will cause the toxin to be absorbed much faster than just licking it, so if your dog has bitten or consumed a cane toad, it’s essential that you take him to a vet immediately,” according to Greencross Veterinarians in Australia.

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Even with the excitement and curiosity surrounding the huge cane toad, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science announced the Twitter that Toadzilla was “euthanized due to the environmental damage they cause”. Toadzilla has now been taken to the Queensland Museum for further analysis to determine if it is indeed the largest recorded cane toad in the world.

“We’re glad to have it removed from the national park,” Gray said.

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