Cane Toad Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Cane Toad

Scientific Name:

Rhinella marina

Wild Status:

Least Concern




Many South American countries



Life Span:

10+ years


4-6 inches

Cool Facts:

  • Commonly used by humans to protect sugar cane fields from pests, usually beetles.
  • Possess poisonous glands on its back.
  • Mothers can lay thousands of eggs at a time.
  • Have become invasive and widespread in Australia and Hawaii.
  • A threat to dogs who may bite or lick the toads, ingesting their poison.
  • The poison is typically not strong enough to harm humans who touch it.
  • However, eating one of these toads, even before it is fully developed, can be lethal
  • Like many amphibians, can absorb oxygen through its skin.


Cane Toads are native to several Central and South American tropical forests. They feed on many different types of animals, including carrion. Poisonous, fast growing, and fertile, these toads have been introduced by humans for pest control in numerous places. However, in at least two locations (Hawaii and Australia) they have overtaken native species and become invasive. Their poison has been devastating to Australian bird species as well as large reptiles such as crocodiles. Dogs and humans have also been harmed by this toad's poison, although with proper medical care full recovery is the norm. They thrive in humid environments, especially those that retain water from rainfall. Although many bird species fall to the poison, some have discovered that by flipping the toad on its back and eating the legs and stomach, poison can be avoided entirely. Dogs in Hawaii often end up at the vet's office after ingesting the poison and many never recover from the poison or delay treatment for too long.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Amphibia Order: Anura Family: Bufonidae Genus: Rhinella Species: R. marina

Conservation & Helping:

The cane toad is doing well in its natural habitats and elsewhere. It is currently not considered threatened on the endangered species list.

For Teachers and Educators


Keep Exploring Defenders!