Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Life: Bufo Marinus, who was the bufo-head who thought of importing these?

One unusually hot August day in 1962, I was waiting for my mother to get dressed so we could go to the Ekka. (Well that's what we called it)

To fill in time this 9 year old went for a ride on his scooter around the block and saw some mates gathered at the corner of the street. So I popped over to have a look. Here, gathered under the Roseby Ave street sign I found them peering down through the steel bars of a drain. "What's in there?" I asked.

"A toad! You know.. like a frog!" said one of assembled group. Now at age 9 I had never seen a frog, let alone a toad. So here was this thing swimming around in circles in the mucky water below our streets!


By the time I had become 14 our whole yard was full of the bloody things every night. And because of their ability to send your dog to the next world in a most unpleasant way.. my mother had taken it upon herself to became judge, jury and above all else executioner of these imports.

And so I learned from a young age that these toads were not welcome at No 5 Armagh Street.

Every summer night would find me, mother and George Hobbs (our flat tenant) on the hunt in the front and back yard looking for these beasts. Often we would cull 13 each night. There are lots of ways to do this:

1. The Dunlop method. (Dunlop Golf clubs or Dunlop Radials on your car!)

2. Shoot them! My favourite with my 177 air gun.. although one night the slug came back at me and hit me in the forehead.

3. Vlad the impaler: AKA the garden fork.

4. Behead them. (Deb has managed this when one threatened our new pup Dorothy.)

5. Poison; my new method. Mortein Surface Spray.

And the list goes on!

I used to dissect these creepy things when I was at high school. That was when I thought about becoming  marine biologist. And I still have a cane toad's heart in a bottle some 45 year later. A nice ornament for the kitchen it makes too!

In recent years the numbers dropped.. but now they are back in large numbers again. Every night sees me on patrol with my trusty can of Mortein.. thinking of buying a cattle prod. A 5 minute burst from that should send them to Valhalla me thinks! Perhaps with some accelerant on them for that whole "Flaming Viking" effect!

So who was the boof head who thought it would be a good idea to import the rotten things anyhow? Obviously a visionary ... not! Sort of like.. lets get a couple of rabbits to keep the grass down!

The sun is falling towards the horizon as the day draws to a close. (Not as romantic as it sounds.. big shadow across my front lawn from the flats across the road) Soon it will be time to grab the torch, and the can of Mortein to rid my patch of these revolting beasts.

Invariably after a night on the killing fields I go out at first light to count the bodies. I am keeping score you see as I want to know if my efforts are paying off.. but by 10:00 AM they have gone!

Where did they go... are toads like the US Rangers and never leave their fallen behind?

Who knows.. perhaps they get beamed up to the mothership; but it doesn't really matter as tonight it will be full on as I keep up the onslaught! I will never surrender!

Mark: 5 Toads: NIL!

Public enemy No 1 at my house!