Thursday, November 24, 2022

Oz 'bin chickens' get respect for downing toxic cane toads

Few animals are reviled in Oz more than the white ibis. The 'bin chicken' has an iron stomach and scavenges food from anywhere. The native bird is earning respect after it began eating an animal Australians hate even more; the invasive cane toad, a toxic pest.
Introduced in the 1930s, cane toads had no natural predators and their numbers started an exponential rise. The toad's skin contains venom which it releases when threatened, causing most animals that come into contact with it to die. Videos of ibis "playing" with the amphibians emerged. The clever ibis has learned to stress the toad, and then wash off the resulting toxin before consuming it whole. They won't soon run out of chow. There are billions of cane toads and they are prolific ... for every female cane toad it's 70,000 new cane toads each year.