Toadzilla Discovered in Australia Could Be the Largest in the World

Although Toadzilla's age is unknown, it is estimated that she could be close to 15 years old, as this is the only way to explain the enormous size of her body.
Toadzilla Discovered in Australia Could Be the Largest in the World
Cesar Paul Gonzalez Gonzalez

Written and verified by the biologist Cesar Paul Gonzalez Gonzalez.

Last update: 05 March, 2023

Toads are one of the best-known amphibians in the world, as their warty skin and typical vocalization don’t usually go unnoticed. Even though at first glance their appearance isn’t entirely pleasing, they’re essential animals in the environment and they have quite an interesting natural history. What’s more, there are impressive large species that weigh up to 2.5 kilograms…but today we’ll find out about “toadzilla”!!

The cane toad (Rhinella marina) is one of the few amphibians that are capable of reaching gigantic sizes. In fact, the largest specimen of the species was recently found in Australia and was nicknamed “Toadzilla” due to its size and physical appearance. Read on to find out more about this particular specimen.

What do cane toads look like?

Cane toads are amphibians that have a dark olive coloration all over their body, as well as several brown warts that highlight their toad-like appearance. In addition, they have two large parotid glands that secrete venom and are perceived as lumps behind the eyes.

This species typically averages 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches) in length and weighs approximately 400 grams (14 oz). However, when specimens live long enough and have ample food resources, they can exceed 25 centimeters (10 inches) in length and weigh more than 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lbs).

According to the official page of the Guinness World Records, the largest known specimen of the species weighed 2.65 kilograms (5.8 lbs) and measured 38 centimeters (15 inches). This was recorded as the largest cane toad since 1991, but a recent discovery in Australia seems to indicate that a new record has been found.

A cane toad.
Rhinella marina.

Who is Toadzilla?

On January 12, 2023, a group of rangers in Conway National Park, Queensland, came across a large toad hiding in the vegetation. The moment they tried to capture it, they realized that it was extremely heavy, so, because of its appearance and size, they decided to name it Toadzilla, after the science fiction reptile “Godzilla”.

After analyzing its physical characteristics, the park specialists determined that it was a cane toad. It was a female and weighed 2.7 kilograms (5.95 lbs), which surprised everyone. While it’s true that the species is capable of reaching these measurements, specimens of this size are rare.

Of course, once her data and capture information were recorded, Toadzilla was removed from the ecosystem because she poses a serious risk to other small animals. Her size means she will consume a vast array of insects, reptiles, and mammals, further harming Australia’s delicate wildlife.

Toadzilla is a danger to Australia

Contrary to what one might think, Toadzilla is not a species endemic to Australia, but is a dangerous invader from the Americas. According to the Australian Government, the cane toad has become a fearsome pest due to its voracious appetite and venom, which makes it resistant to predation.

To make matters worse, this species adapts easily to different habitats, so it has conquered most of the wet ecosystems in Australia. At the same time, its presence in the area displaces and reduces the population of other animals. This is detrimental to native wildlife, especially those that are classified as at risk or endangered.

In short, Toadzilla not only looks threatening because of its size, but it is a latent danger to Australia’s ecosystem. That is why, if these organisms are found, professionals have to capture them and prevent them from returning to the ecosystem.

Rhinella marina.

What will happen to Toadzilla?

Despite being a majestic and incredible specimen, Toadzilla had to be euthanized through humane methods. As much as the rangers wanted to protect or care for it, the size of this toad made it impractical to keep it in captivity for a long time. In addition, there was a risk of it escaping again, so they had no alternative.

It’s also important to note that the Australian Government has classified the cane toad as a key threat to the environment. This means that park rangers are obliged to capture and reduce its population, as this is the only way to protect the rest of the wildlife.

Of course, Toadzilla’s body is still being safeguarded as it is the largest known specimen to date. Even the Queensland Museum is interested in preserving its remains for exhibition, as it’s obvious that it has broken the previous record and it’s unlikely that a larger toad than this one will appear.

It’s essential to emphasize that the actions taken by professionals are aimed at the conservation of the animals. If the cane toad population isn’t controlled, the entire ecosystem could change and lead to the disappearance of other species. Of course, this doesn’t take away from the fact that Toadzilla is impressive, but everything is done with the objective of avoiding an imbalance in the environment.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.