enews
Issue 2 - March 1, 2010 enews home

Cane toad sausages on the menu for quolls

Cane toads are being turned into sausages in Australia’s Northern Territory as part of a research project to help save an endangered mammal

Cane toads are being turned into sausages in Australia’s Northern Territory as part of a research project to help save an endangered mammal

By Richie Hodgson

Cane toads are being turned into sausages in Australia’s Northern Territory as part of a research project to help save an endangered mammal.

They're hoped to be the next weapon for quolls in the fight against the invasive pest, but you wouldn't want to throw one of these snags on the barbie.

The project, which is being run by Charles Darwin University, University of Sydney and the Territory Wildlife Park, is based on the concept of taste aversion.

The sausages, which are made up of the minced legs of the toads, are laced with the chemical, thiabendazole and fed to the quoll.

Project researcher, Stephanie O'Donnell said the aim was to make the quolls feel ill so they would avoid eating the poisonous amphibians in the wild.

"We basically give them food poisoning," Ms O'Donnell said.

Ms O’Donnell said that while the quolls couldn’t smell or taste the chemical, they could definitely feel its effects.

“The quoll will then associate the smell of a cane toad with getting sick so they'll remember to steer clear,” she said.

Results show about a quarter of the quolls will avoid a toad after eating one of the sausages.