Fijian cane toad croaks it after arriving in Melbourne
Victorian authorities have euthanised a cane toad after it hitched a ride from Fiji to Melbourne.
A South Yarra man found the stowaway in his luggage and contacted Zoos Victoria, which put down the animal because of its poor health.
The cane toad could have carried exotic parasites and disease to native flora and fauna if not detected, Agriculture Victoria leading biosecurity officer Emily Hill said.
"Cane toads compete with native frogs and toads for food and suitable habitat and their poison glands are a risk to native mammals and pets if ingested," she said.
The toads are prolific in northern Australia after the Queensland government introduced the pest to control the cane beetle in 1935.
Between four and 10 toads make their way to Victoria each year via shipping containers, machinery and personal items such as bags and shoes.
"This detection from Fiji is a timely reminder of the ongoing risk of exotic species entering Australia and Victoria from overseas," Ms Hill said.
"We all need to work together to ensure we keep Victoria safe from exotic pests like cane toads and the public have a massive role in helping us protect our unique biodiversity."
It was not uncommon for cane toads to slip through the nation's borders, a federal agriculture department spokeswoman said.
"Hitchhiking toads do occasionally come into Australia undetected in luggage," she said in a statement.
"The department is pleased to hear that the traveller was responsible and thought to get in touch with Victorian authorities."
Anyone who finds an exotic pest or animal must report them to Agriculture Victoria or the relevant state authority.