Canberra's first cane toad was reported last week. A rushed series of emails "...toad identified from a backyard in northern Canberra...". It had to be a toad because the identifying vet was from Queensland.
First thought: "hitchhiker".
Second thought: "is climate change that bad? The tropics are coming to Canberra?".
Third thought: "Is it really a cane toad?"
Turns out thought number three was the right one. I rushed to the vet clinic, smelling a front page story, and literally arrived with the photographer from the Canberra Times. I'm no frog expert, but I immediately knew it wasn't a cane toad. No big poison parotid glands, a white strip on the cheeks and hind feet that just didn't look toady.
Unfortunately we think it was a fatal case of mistaken identity. The "toad" appears to be a Giant Burrowing Frog Heleioporus australiacus. Listed as vulnerable nationally and in NSW and threatened in Victoria but its range isn't meant to extend to the Australian Capital Territory (hope it wasn't the only one). I'm happy for those more expert to guide me on that identification.