Australia’s noxious cane toad is wiping out populations of a unique miniature crocodile, researchers warned Wednesday, with fears the warty, toxic creature could extinguish the rare reptile.
A team from Charles Darwin University studying the impacts of the foul toad in upstream escarpments found “significant declines” in numbers of dwarf freshwater crocodiles after the amphibians’ arrival.
Dwarf crocodiles are thought to be stunted due to a lack of available food and researchers believe the crocs started gobbling up the cane toads when they came along.
Lead researcher Adam Britton said there had been 28 of the rare crocs across the study area, around the Victoria and Bullo rivers in the Northern Territory, prior to the arrival of the toads.
The population declined to ten after the toads arrived, the study, conducted from 2007-2008 and published in the latest edition of the journal Wildlife Research, showed.
“Dead crocodiles and evidence of their having eaten cane toads strongly suggest that these declines were caused directly by the arrival of cane toads into the area,” the study found.
Dwarf crocodiles, also known as pygmy or “stunted” crocodiles, grow to a maximum of 1.7 metres (five foot six inches), or 0.7 metres (two foot three inches) for females, half the size of other freshwater crocs.
Read more at: Phys.org