How to tell the difference between cane toads and native Australian frogs
Important! The culling of cane toads has been widely encouraged as they are displacing native Australian frogs but if you choose to help remove cane toads from your area please take great care to ensure that you don't harm our native frogs.
The handy guide below, shows how to tell the difference. If, after checking this guide, you are still not 100% sure that your capture is a cane toad then just release it back to where you found it.
Some of our native Australian frogs look a bit like cane toads. Can you spot the cane toad in the line up below? All are native Australian species except for one which is a cane toad...
The guide below shows how to spot the difference in more detail...
The text and photographs below are the copyright of Ed Meyer (copyright Ed Meyer, 2010), of the Queensland Frog Society.
Gungan (Uperoleia sp)
Gungans are small native frogs, 25-30 mm long, which look like miniature cane toads. They can be distinguished from toads by the presence of yellow, orange or red colouration in the groin area and/or on the hindlimbs. This colour is only visible when the hind legs are pulled backwards, away from the body.
Tusked frog (Adelotus brevis)
This vulnerable species looks a little like a small cane toad. The tusked frog can be distinguished from the cane toad by the presence of red pigment in the groin area and red colouration on the back of the legs. This colouration may be difficult to see unless the tusked frog's legs are pulled backwards, away from the body.
Cane toad spawn
Eggs of the cane toad are laid in jelly strands and, for this reason, are easily distinguished from the eggs of native frog species. Removing toad eggs from the water and leaving them to dry in the sun can help reduce toad numbers, provided this is done on a regular basis.
Young cane toad
Cane toads are only tiny when they leave the water. In summer, large numbers of tiny recently-metamorphosed toads can be found sitting out by day, near areas of open water.
Great barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus)
A large frog, up to 90 mm in length; most commonly associated with rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest. This species can be distinguished from the cane toad by its smooth uniformly cream-coloured belly.
Ornate burrowing frog
A smallish rotund frog, up to 45 mm in length, similar in appearance to a small cane toad. The ornate burrowing frog can be distinguished from the cane toad by the uniform white/cream colouration on the underside of its body.
A large rotund burrowing frog, up to 80 mm in length. Distinguished from the cane toad by the presence of yellow, orange and/or red pigment on the flanks and yellow/orange/red colouration of the groin. Also distinguishable from cane toads by the uniform cream colouration of the belly.
Adult female cane toad (Bufo marinus)
Note large parotoid gland behind the eyes and prominent brow ridge above the eyes.
Adult male cane toad
Note the large parotoid gland behind the eyes and prominent brow ridge above eyes.
The cane toad seen here is displaying a defensive posture that you may see when a toad feels threatened. When this occurs, enlarged glands behind the eyes can secrete a milky-white toxin. You can be see this occuring in the video clip here.
Care needs to be taken to avoid contact with this toxin.