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Marine toad

Bufo marinus

Description: The Marine or Cane toad is usually brown or grayish-brown on the top, with cream colored spots scattered across the back, sides and legs. The underside is creamy yellow, sometimes flecked with black. The back and legs are covered with spiny warts. It is distinguished by deeply pitted parotoid glands extending from behind the eyes down the sides of their bodies. These glands secrete a milky substance, bufotoxin, to deter predators. These toads have been used to rid sugar cane of pests, thus the common name Cane toad.

Size: Average length is six to nine inches (15 to 23 cm) but larger ones have been reported. It can weigh more than two pounds (1 kg). Females are larger than males.

Behavior: Although mainly nocturnal, they are often quite active during the day. Normally seen in an upright position, moving in short, fast hops. They excavate a burrow and becomes inactive during dry or cool weather.

Diet: These ravenous predators, feed on other toads, frogs, invertebrates, lizards, snakes, small rodents and small birds.

Senses: This nocturnal species has horizontal pupils. Vision is their main method for finding prey, but sense of smell may also help.

Communication: Vocalizations by the males are for the purpose of attracting a mate. Description of
sounds vary from that of a distant tractor to a slow, successive vibrating noise.

Reproduction: Males gather in pools of water or slow moving water and call for females. Long strings of jelly- like eggs are laid and may be fertilized by more than one male. A female may lay more than 25,000 eggs that will hatch into tadpoles in two to seven days.

Habitat/range: Their native habitat is from the Amazon basin in South America, through Central America to extreme southern Texas. They were also successfully introduced in Hawaii, Mauritius, Fiji, Philippines, Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands, New Guinea, Australia and many Pacific Islands.

Status: Listed as Least Concern on IUCN Red List. Marine toads have been introduced to many regions throughout the world as control agents for insects; many areas now consider them a public nuisance due to their population growth.