cane toad


: a large, brownish, poisonous toad (Rhinella marina synonym Bufo marinus) native to Central and South America, Mexico, and extreme southern Texas and introduced into other tropical and subtropical areas (such as Australia) where it has become an invasive species
Cane toads are seen as a major threat to biodiversity, not only because they voraciously out-compete some native species for food and consume others, but also because their skin toxins are thought to kill carnivorous predators which mistake them for local amphibians.Sheila Lunter

called also giant toad, marine toad

Examples of cane toad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The toxic cane toads, in fact, were set loose in Australia deliberately, in what would turn out to be a deeply misguided attempt to control pest beetles. Emily Anthes Chang W. Lee, New York Times, 14 Apr. 2024 For example, the famous case of cane toads, brought to Australia to try to control insects munching on sugarcane crops, quickly became an-ever-expanding menace in their own right. Popular Science, 29 Feb. 2024 Beautiful cane toads are considered large, measuring about 4 inches long on average, researchers said. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 26 Feb. 2024 Clearly, many invasive species manage to thrive despite the evolutionary roadblocks, and cane toads aren’t the only interlopers disrupting the down-under ecosystem. Popular Science, 29 Feb. 2024 Researchers suspected that some toads in western Ecuador were not actually Mesoamerican cane toads, the study said. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 26 Feb. 2024 Without predation to keep population numbers low, cane toad tadpoles began to eat their peers, reports Ars Technica's John Timmer. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Sep. 2021 In Australia, native snakes evolved resistance to the toxins of invasive cane toads, and ate fewer toads. Max G. Levy, WIRED, 18 Aug. 2023 To snuff out their competition for resources, cane toad tadpoles will actually cannibalize nearby cane toad eggs . Joseph Castro, Discover Magazine, 2 Sep. 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cane toad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1955, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cane toad was in 1955

Dictionary Entries Near cane toad

Cite this Entry

“Cane toad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

cane toad

: a large, brownish toad (Rhinella marina synonym Bufo marinus) that secretes a toxin poisonous especially to small animals and that is native to Central and South America, Mexico, and southernmost Texas but has become an invasive species in other warm regions (as Florida and Australia) where it was formerly introduced for insect control
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!