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Nearly 6-pound 'Toadzilla' found in Australia breaks the record for largest toad

Kylee Gray, a ranger with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, holds a giant cane toad on Jan. 12 near Airlie Beach, Australia. The toad weighed 5.95 pounds.
Queensland Department of Environment and Science via AP
Kylee Gray, a ranger with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, holds a giant cane toad on Jan. 12 near Airlie Beach, Australia. The toad weighed 5.95 pounds.

Park rangers in northern Australia found a cane toad so giant that it provoked gasps and disbelief.

The toad, which the rangers nicknamed "Toadzilla," weighed in at what's believed to be a record-breaking 5.95 pounds — compared to an average weight of 1 pound.

Park ranger Kylee Gray spotted the monster toad while conducting track work in Conway National Park and "couldn't believe how big and heavy it was," she said in a news release.

The rangers believe it is a female toad, and while they don't know how old it is, "this one has been around a long time," Gray said. Cane toads can live up to 15 years in the wild.

The rangers quickly put the toad in a container to remove it from the wild and euthanize it. Cane toads were introduced in Queensland in 1935 to control the cane beetle population, but became a damaging pest in their own right, colonizing habitats and poisoning other wildlife.

"A cane toad that size will eat anything it can fit into its mouth, and that includes insects, reptiles and small mammals," Gray said.

Cane toads are native to South and Central America and have no natural predators in Australia. There may be more than 200 million cane toads on the continent — an astonishing increase from the 100 that were introduced less than a century ago. Because their bodies are toxic to other species, they've caused local extinctions of some would-be predators.

The toad's body will be donated to the Queensland Museum, which expressed interest because she may be the largest on record. The previous largest known toad is Prinsen, a Guinness World Record-holding pet cane toad who clocked in at 5 pounds and 13 ounces in 1991.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kaitlyn Radde
Kaitlyn Radde is an intern for the Graphics and Digital News desks, where she has covered everything from the midterm elections to child labor. Before coming to NPR, she covered education data at Chalkbeat and contributed data analysis to USA TODAY coverage of Black political representation and NCAA finances. She is a graduate of Indiana University.

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