Advertisement

Toxic find on popular beach prompts warning: 'Thousands of them'

Cane toads can lay up to 35,000 eggs in a single sitting.

It's always best to watch your step at the beach but people are being urged to be extra vigilant after "strains" of cane toad eggs were found in shallow waters at a popular Queensland tourist spot, with the "toxic" find dangerous for both beachgoers and animals alike.

Cane toads are notorious for being an invasive species, which are poisonous at all stages of their lives, with a sighting at Castaways Beach near Noosa Heads highlighting their threat to local biodiversity.

Stings of cane toad eggs lie on the sand at Castaway Beach in Noosa, Queensland.
Thousands of cane toad eggs were found in shallow waters on Sunday at Castaways Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Source: Facebook

A local resident on Sunday urged others to keep an eye out for them and do their bit in minimising their chance of survival.

"If you go for a walk along our creeks, and you see these egg-filled strands, do our wildlife a favour and pull them out of the water to dry and die off in the sun," she wrote online. "Do wear protective gloves as these eggs are toxic (as are the tadpoles)."

People are warned not to kill or touch them, and instead are encouraged to contact the Invasive Species Council. The species are often found around Noosa and like the hot climate, but have been migrating further south every year.

"I pulled these out at Castaways Beach this morning, about a few thousand eggs that now won't develop into cane toads," the local continued.

Dog walkers walk along the sand at Castaway Beach in Noosa, Queensland.
Cane toads are often seen at Castaways Beach near Noosa Heads. Source: Broadsheet/Amy Hemmings

Cane toads capable of 'hitch-hiking' around the country

The species are incredibly adaptable and are reaching areas of Australia far beyond their known habitat. A cane toad expert told Yahoo News they are "excellent hitch-hikers" after one was found in southern Sydney last week.

"They frequently hide in materials such as landscape and garden supplies — even in boots — and find their way to places far outside the main invaded range," Professor Rick Shine said last month.

The presence of a lone cane toad is not always a cause for concern but signs of successful mating can wreak havoc on the local biodiversity, posing risk to both native animals and pets if eggs hatch and the species becomes established.

The species lay "very long strains" of eggs, making them easily identifiable, and one female can lay between 8000 and 35,000 eggs in one siting. They eat a wide variety of foods and deplete food sources, with native frogs particularly vulnerable.

Cane toad toxin can be lethal if ingested by humans and if sprayed, it can inflict temporary blindness and intense pain, according to WWF Australia.

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.