When he was carrying the animal, he was carrying what he believed to be the largest animal in the world. This is Gray’s first encounter with a large, poisonous amphibian that he soon calls “Toadzilla.”
“I reached down and grabbed the cane toad and I couldn’t believe how big and heavy it was,” he said in a statement released by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
After measuring the cane toad’s weight (about six pounds), and determining that it was female because it weighed more than its male counterparts, Gray said he decided to name the frog “Connie.” But upon further thought, Gray said, he decided that instead of Connie, the cane toad looked more like “Godzilla,” the mythical monster that ravages Japan.
“We named it Toadzilla, and quickly put it in a container so we could get it out of the wild,” Gray said.
Now, Australian authorities are trying to find out if Toadzilla could be the largest of its kind. When the management returned to the base on Jan. 12, weighed Toadzilla at 5.95 pounds, which would be a world record. The heaviest frog on record was measured in March 1991 when Prinsen, a Swedish cane frog, weighed 5.13 pounds and measured 1 foot 9 inches when fully extended, according to Guinness World Records.
Biologists were shocked by a 240-pound, possibly century-old fish from the Detroit River.
Although Toadzilla’s age is unknown, cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild, leading park officials to speculate that “this one has been around a long time.”
“He has made a strong impression among our facility management staff because of his size,” Gray said in a statement.
Cane toads originated in South America and Central America, and were introduced to Queensland in 1935 to help reduce the number of cane pests. However, in the decades since it was introduced, aquatic animals have lost control of pests and become one of the world’s most destructive species. Cane toads, which weigh about three pounds, have been “remarkably successful at reproducing and dispersing on their own,” according to National Geographic.
The species is estimated to number in the millions in Australia, which covers thousands of kilometers in the north-east of the country, according to a study by the University of Western Australia.
The diet of cane toads is mainly insects, but they will eat anything, including reptiles, birds and even small mammals.
“They’re lucky,” the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said in a Toadzilla news release.
The warty amphibian can secrete a milky toxin from the parotid glands behind its shoulders that can kill wildlife. Cane toads are also very dangerous to dogs who bite the amphibians and ingest the poison.
“Eating cane toads causes the poison to be absorbed faster than licking it, so if your dog has bitten or eaten a cane toad, it is important that you take him to the vet as soon as possible,” according to Greencross Vets in Australia.
Behold Carrot, a 67-pound goldfish caught in France
Despite the excitement and interest surrounding the giant cane toad, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science announced that Twitter that Toadzilla “was motivated by the environmental damage he causes.” Toadzilla will now be taken to the Queensland Museum to be examined if he is indeed the world’s largest recorded frog.
“We’re glad we got him out of the national park,” Gray said.