One bait, made from cane toad venom, can capture up to 10,000 juvenile toads. (ABC News: Isabella Higgins)
Poison taken from Queensland’s most notorious pest, the cane toad, is being turned against them through world-first specialised traps developed by Brisbane researchers.
The traps use baits that replicate the smell of food, made from the poison of adult cane toads, to capture and eradicate up to 10,000 juvenile toads in one hit.
University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have developed and are currently trialling the traps around the state.
If successful, researchers hope to have the product on supermarket shelves in a couple of years.
Professor Rob Capon said they relied on volunteers capturing and sending them toads to make the specialised baits.
“Many community groups are out there catching adult toads, we can redirect the toads from landfill into the lab, and we can extract them and get the chemistry we need for the baits,” Mr Capon said.
The UQ researchers hope to see their invention on supermarket shelves in the near future. (Supplied: University of Queensland)
“We need to isolate this pheromone or toxin from the adults and then what we do is apply it to a small ceramic cube.
“You can put a bait in a trap, and the tadpoles swim in thinking that there is [food], and of course there’s not and they’re stuck.”
“We’re hoping to have a product on the shelves in the hardware stores in a few years but in the mean time to get this solution out there and being used we rely on the good efforts of the community.”
Rockhampton local Karl Grabasch volunteers his time to catch toads to help make the baits, and is learning how to lay the new traps.
Researchers are relying on volunteers to send in cane toads for them to be able to make the bait. (ABC News: Isabella Higgins)
He hopes his contribution will help reduce the cane toad population in the area and increase the number of new traps that can be made.
“It gives the native wildlife around here a bit of chance because toads are pretty destructive … it’s not too hard just can’t be afraid of cane toads, just go in quick and grab them from behind.”
Mr Grabasch said he even managed to get his fiancee to help with the toad cull and get behind the trap project.
“It’s not our typical date night but we’ll make the most of it and call it a date night,” he said.