A detector dog is being trained to sniff out toxic cane toads in Western Australia’s north, as another one of the poisonous amphibians was found in an East Perth backyard.
The pests have already infested the state’s Kimberley region, and some have been hitching rides to Perth.
Springer spaniel Reggie is in his final weeks of training to learn to detect the invasive species, and will be deployed in Kununurra to check high-priority freight for toads.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said springer spaniels were an ideal breed for cane toad detection due to their acute sense of smell, high energy levels and ability to act on command.
He said a cane toad sighting was reported in Perth about every six months.
Mr Jacob said it was not known how this cane toad reached Perth on Monday evening, but officers from the Department of Parks and Wildlife searched the area after the discovery and delivered information brochures to residents.
“A couple in East Perth were out in the backyard and they actually saw a toad hop along and hop under the table,” Mr Jacob told reporters on Wednesday.
“They’ve done absolutely the right thing. They’ve captured that toad, they’ve put it in a bucket and they’ve called the Wildlife hotline.”
Mr Jacob said people should never try to kill a suspected cane toad because it could turn out to be a native frog.
The minister encouraged people to use the free cane toad app to make the distinction.
Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in 1935 and began spreading to the Northern Territory before invading northern WA in 2009.
Mr Jacob said they were advancing into the state about 50 kilometres a year.