# Saturday, 27 February 2010

Cat food is being used in Australia to stop the spread of invasive cane toads. It has been found that cat food attracts meat ants towards it. Meat ants in turn have quite an appetite for baby cane toads. Leaving cat food near the waters edge when the baby toads are emerging puts the ants right where they are needed. The idea is the latest attempt to try and control the cane toads which were introduced from Hawaii in 1935 in an attempt to control beetles on sugarcane plantations. Since then cane toads have become a destructive influence on the local wildlife population. Other methods of controlling them have included hitting the toads with golf clubs and freezing them. However, with tens of thousands of toads emerging from the water at any one time these methods have not proved effective. Meat ants, are well equipped to deal with the glut of extra food and it has been found that when ponds are lined with cat food, 98% of toads are attacked within two minutes. Of those that escape 80% die of their injuries within a day.