The power of myth: the (non) impact of invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) on domestic chickens (Gallus gallus)

Christa Beckmann*, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Myths about invasive species are widespread in the general community, even when contrary to scientific evidence. Public revulsion against invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) in Australia has encouraged the belief that toads pose a significant risk to domestic poultry, by poisoning fowls that eat toads or that drink water contaminated by toads. Although discredited by scientists in 1938, within 2 years of the toads' introduction to Australia, the myth continues to flourish. We conducted experimental trials to evaluate the vulnerability of chickens to toad-contaminated water, and to toad ingestion. No ill effects were seen, with one chicken consuming 45 small toads without falling ill. Thus, available evidence suggests that cane toads do not imperil domestic poultry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-851
Number of pages5
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • bufotoxin
  • metamorph
  • Rhinella marina
  • urban legend

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