Home / Gadgets / Cane toads hitch a ride on a python and it’s the stuff of nightmares

Cane toads hitch a ride on a python and it’s the stuff of nightmares

What’s one of the worst things you could stumble upon in the middle of a rainy night? Say, a handful of lousy cane toads hitching a ride on a python? 

That’s exactly what a farmer in the Western Australian town of Kununurra stumbled upon on Sunday.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, farmer Paul Mock was casually checking his dam late at night when he came upon the frankly horrifying sight. 

Mock’s dam had reportedly seen a large build up of water after heavy rainfall during the night, which caused thousands of cane toads — a poisonous, vile Australian pest — living in burrows around the edge of the dam to scurry to higher ground, according to the news outlet.

Heading out to lower the dam’s high water levels, Mock came across not only a lawn full of cane toads, but a 3.5 metre (11 feet 5 inch) local olive python, known to the farmer as Monty, slithering across the property carrying ten of the terrible toads on its back.

Mock quickly captured the moment, telling the ABC his brother Andrew posted it to Twitter. LOOK. AT. IT. This is truly the stuff of nightmares. 

Mock also sent video proof of the moment to the Guardian, and folks, it’s nothing we’d ever want to find in our own backyards.

“He was literally moving across the grass at full speed with the frogs hanging on,” Mock told the Guardian. “I thought it was fascinating that some of the local reptiles have gotten used to [the cane toads] and not eating them.”

Australians might find the cane toad-python pairing unsurprising, as the introduced amphibian pest has few predators in the country — they’re incredibly poisonous to eat. 

Cane toads are a serious problem in Australia, poisoning many pets and native animals whose diet includes toads, preying on native fauna, carrying diseases that affect native frogs. Plus, they’re prolific breeders.

In fact, that’s what Dr. Jodi Rowley, curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology at the Australian Museum and UNSW, and chief scientist behind the FrogID app — it’s like Shazam for different frog ribbits — concluded the cane toads were actually doing on the python. They weren’t riding it, they were riding it. Yikes.

Despite cane toad management programs around Australia, numbers are proving pretty hard to control. 

Aussies, if you see a cane toad, whether it be hanging off the back of a reptile or just sitting rudely in the middle of the road (as they do), the Australian Museum recommends you try and catch it or report it to a National Parks office or your state museum — don’t kill it, as you may confuse it with a native species, like the Banjo Frog.

And if you almost trip over a whole bunch riding a python during a storm, of course, share it on Twitter.

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