Recently I stumbled upon an unusual documentary from the 80s about the giant American toads (Bufo Marinus) of Queensland, Australia. That’s correct. Who would have thought that this 50 minute movie (embedded at the end of this article) with songs of the toad’s praise would turn out to be one of those surprisingly informative and strangely funny movies.
Well, it was certainly fun to watch. Here’s a gist of all interesting things I got from it and some reading which ensued.
Cane toads were never native to northern Australia before the 1930s. Raquel Dexter an entomologist, during the 1932 world conference of sugar technology in Puerto Rico, suggested that the cane toad was the ultimate solution to deal with a native Australian cane beetle. This beetle had decimated the output of sugarcane crop of North Queensland cane farmers.
So, Mungomery Reginald William brought in 102 cane toads into the freshwaters of little Mulgrave river in Gordonvale from Hawaii to tackle the problem of beetle infestation. Mungomery’s intention to make the toads travel for two weeks from Hawaii to Sydney and for another two days to Gordonvale was a noble yet arduous one:
“We have got these bloody grubs by the balls this time and we will go on to bigger and brighter things”
– A jubilant Irishman
Continue reading The Menace of American toads in Queensland Australia
Stone fish is a bizarre looking creature, 15-20 inch sized, weighing about 5 pounds, is covered in dark patches and has ugly pimple like things all over its body. It’s found in the coastal regions of the Indian ocean and the Pacific ocean and likes to sit in between coral reefs and stones most of the time. The fish can survive outside of water for a whole day.
The fish is well-known as the most venomous fish. The most surprising thing about it is that it can be held in bare hands and you still won’t get poisoned.
However, a part of this fish can leave you dead in minutes. The fish has very sharp needle like things inside of skin sacks on its back, which when stepped on, are designed to inject an extremely powerful toxin into your body. The toxin is known to cause severe pain, paralysis and tissue necrosis. These venom spines can refill in about a week. Watch spines go in the video I’ve attached below…
Venom and Poison are both toxic substances. Still, some animals are called venomous and others are poisonous. The only difference between being called poisonous or venomous is in the way these animals deliver the harmful substance.
Venom: When animals like snakes use their sharp fangs to bite into the flesh and let the toxic substance move into the body of their prey, through the punctured skin, they are called venomous animals. To deliver venom an animal has to use tools like fangs or stingers.
Poison: Poison is something that can get inhaled, ingested or seeped into the skin directly. For example, if you accidentally touch a brightly colored poison dart frog, you will transfer the toxins it secretes from its skin, to your own skin. And then the poison will seep into your blood stream.
The same substance can be Venom + Poison: Some substances can be both venom and poison depending on how an animal delivers it. eg: Tetrodotoxin – an extremely toxic substance – is found in both puffer fish and in a blue ringed octopus. It is poisonous in a puffer fish and venomous in a blue ringed octopus.
The same animal can be both venomous and poisonous: One example for this is the pelagic sea snake – a snake related to cobra. It has a poisonous flesh and its bite can also deliver a venom.
Non-poisonous Venom: There are some venoms which can be ingested without experiencing any ill effects because it was not designed to survive the acids present in the stomach. These types of venoms won’t get a chance to get absorbed in the blood stream. Before they try that, they might get digested. This is the reason a snake doesn’t die when it swallows its own venom. That doesn’t mean you can try drinking snake venom.
So you can happily go around telling everybody that most snakes aren’t poisonous, because most snakes use fangs to deliver venom, not poison. [Video]