cane toad


Definition of 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 Even cane toad tadpoles are toxic, Ken Gioeli, the University of Florida's natural resources extension agent for St. Lucie County, told TCPalm of the USA TODAY Network in 2018. Jay Cannon, USA TODAY, "Florida tells residents to humanely kill these invasive, toxic toads that are lethal to pets," 12 June 2020 Poisonous cane toads, for example, were brought to Kayangel Atoll in Palau to reduce monitor lizards’ predation on livestock. Marion Renault, New York Times, "These Large Carnivorous Lizards Are Right Where They Belong," 15 May 2020 Threats to the Puerto Rican crested toad’s survival include habitat competition from invasive cane toads, which also eat Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles and toadlets. National Geographic, "Puerto Rican crested toad," 26 Mar. 2020 From lionfish to pythons to cane toads, there are plenty of invasive species horror stories. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Pablo Escobar’s invasive hippos could actually be good for the environment," 25 Mar. 2020 In some cases, discerning between two types of similar-looking creatures is important, as in the case of Australia’s invasive cane toad. National Geographic, "Bison or buffalo? Possum or opossum? What's the difference?," 23 Jan. 2020 But cane toads proved to be disastrously voracious, eating anything from honeybees to dog food. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, "Can tech save the kakapo, New Zealand's 'gorgeous, hilarious' parrot?," 26 Dec. 2019 In 1935, cane toads arrived in Australia, brought from South and Central America to gobble up the beetles plaguing Queensland’s sugar cane fields. Ashley Braun, Longreads, "Research and Rescue: Saving Species from Ourselves," 24 Oct. 2019 The dangerous cane toad lacks these crests, and the glands on its head are long and triangular shaped, UF Wildlife says. Tiffini Theisen,, "Bufo toad kills another Florida dog as poisonous invader leaps north," 3 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cane toad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cane toad

1975, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of cane toad was in 1975

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Cite this Entry

“Cane toad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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cane toad


Medical Definition of 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

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