Cane Toad

(Rhinella marinus)




Facts about this animal

Bufo marinus can reach a maximum length of 24 cm, although generally it is 15 to 17 cm long. It has a grey olive brown dorsal skin with many warts ending in dark brown caps. The ventral skin tends to be a whitish yellow with dark brown speckles or mottles and is granular. Bufo marinus possesses huge paratoid glands stretching from the anterior side of the tympanum to halfway down the back. A high bony ridge meets at the snout between the nostrils. Like other nocturnal species, it has horizontal pupils.
Bufo marinus is able to reproduce nearly year round. Males congregate in temporary or permanent still or slow moving water and call for mates. The females are able to reproduce after their second year. Eggs are laid in long jelly-like strings on rocks, debris, or emergent vegetation in excess of 30,000 at a time. They hatch between forty-eight hours and one week. Tadpoles metamorphose into small toadlets identical to the adults in forty-five to fifty-five days Within 3–4 days following metamorphosis, juveniles (< 30 mm) disperse from the banks of their breeding canals and lakes and do not return until they are about 9 cm. As toads get older and larger they are found at greater distances from water.
Bufo marinus forages primarily nocturnally in mature forests and roadways. It feeds on terrestrial arthropods, including tenebrionid and carabid beetles, cockroaches, caterpillars, ants, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, and earwigs but bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, crustaceans, gastropods, snails, slugs plant matter and even dog and cat food have also been found in their stomachs.

Did you know?
Bufo marinus has been called one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide by the Invasive Species Specialist Group. People have tried to use it to control insects such as the greybacked cane beetle, Lepidoderma albohirtum which threatened sugar cane production. However, there is no evidence that it has controlled any pest in Australia and it is now considered a pest species itself in its introduced range of Australia and the Pacific and Caribbean Islands. It outcompetes native amphibians and also causes predator declines, since these predators have no natural immunity to the bufotoxin it secretes (a mixture of bufotenine and epinephrine). Males of Bufo marinus are able to reproduce as both sexes because they possess a rudimentary ovary that becomes operative if their testes are removed or damaged. Cane toads can lose 52.5% of body water before desiccation and will store water in their bladder. They therefore have the ability to survive for long periods without water Most batrachians recognize prey by its movement. The cane toad however is also capable to find food by smell, i.e. in garbage or carrion.


Name (Scientific) Rhinella marinus
Name (English) Cane Toad
Name (French) Crapaud buffle
Name (German) Aga-Kröte
Name (Spanish) Sapo marino, Sapo gigante
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
© 2003 Pierre-Yves Vaucher



Range The natural range of Bufo marinus is from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas south to the Central Amazon and southeastern Peru. This toad has been introduced into the Caribbean Islands, South Florida the Hawaiian islands, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Fiji, New Guinea and Australia's east coast .
Habitat Bufo marinus is a tropical species that prefers forested areas with semi-permanent water nearby from sea level to 1,600 m. As their other name suggests, “marine toads” are generally found along rivers and coasts in association with fresh and/or brackish water, including mangrove swamps. Adult toads were found to indeed survive in 10‰ sea water, but quickly died in 15‰ sea water. They also have a broad temperature tolerance and can survive at temperatures from 5–41 C. Cane toads are tolerant of humans and found in gardens, around houses, and in water tanks They are nocturnal and attracted to house and patio lights that also attract the insects on which toads feed. Their activity tends to be correlated with rain. During the day, the toads are secretive, hiding under rocks and boards, in burrows and under long grass clumps out of direct sunlight. Adult toads display some fidelity to shelter sites and prefer shelters with high soil moisture.
Wild population Common throughout its range. The population trend is to increasing (Red List IUCN 2012).
Zoo population 1385 specimens reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Cane Toad


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
© 2003 Pierre-Yves Vaucher

Why do zoos keep this animal

The cane toad is kept for educational purposes. It is very large, thus well visible in even in a naturalistic enviroenment, and can be used as a good example for an invasive species.