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Smearing toads with haemorrhoid cream… humanely

Matthew Chatfield
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Regular readers will remember the anguish with which celebrities and commoners alike rallied round the cause of poor old introduced hedgehogs in Scotland, hard-pressed by conservationists bent on their eradication.

A cute little toad


Now an Australian comparison has arisen. Let’s see if Sir Paul McCartney steps forward once more, in defence of the cane toad! Yes, this deeply unpleasant creature, introduced in 1935 and wreaking havoc ever since, is the object of extraordinary hatred by, it seems, all Australians. No Australian societies exist to stand up for the rights of cane toads, and nobody is offered any bounty to cane toad rescuers. Instead, we get the robust Aussie response of “Not In My Backyard Day”, which is sponsored by the Northern Territory government. Federal MP Dave Tollner says, helpfully:

“I suggested that people should hit them with golf clubs or cricket bats or, you know, lumps of wood – whatever was at hand.”

Some Australian school students have made some comments on the issue which perhaps show that Mr Tollner was reflecting the depth of popular feeling:

Although there are other ways of killing cane toads (hitting them with bats, driving over them on purpose etc.) freezing them would be a practical way of reducing the population of cane toads. Austin

I think Cain toads should be beaten with hockey and cricket bats because they pest to sugarcane fields in Australia. Apparently if you put salt on the back of a frogs they will explode. If we were to freeze these toads in our own freezer someone could accidentally get up during the night and be hungry so they can eat a frozen toad YUK… nick rayner

…if trapping them and freezing them is going to work then do it. If killing them will help a little bit then they should do it. Because if just one person kills a couple then that is better then not killing any, if we just leave them then there will be even more to deal with. Killing them right now is the only way to get rid of them then that is what we should do. Alyce Young

Something tells the Ranger that our own British MPs are not going to be queueing up to recommend the same treatment for grey squirrels or mink. Similarly, he doubts that the British RSPCA would ever be called upon to offer the same advice as their Australian namesakes:

[The Australian RSPCA] recommends that they be smeared with haemorrhoid cream. It contains a local anaesthetic that induces a coma. The toads are then placed in a freezer and the job is done humanely.

Well, that’s alright then. All that talk of hockey sticks was a bit scary. Wouldn’t want them to suffer too much, would we?

This article was first published in 2006. This version is updated with new links.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

7 thoughts on “Smearing toads with haemorrhoid cream… humanely

  • The Wildlife Gardener

    What about the toads further down the line watching their fellow species members being steamrollered?

    The Ranger responds: those toads would have the benefit of being taught humility and reminded of their own mortality. In cosmic terms, they are being done a favour. Or something.

  • I’m a vegetarian and a buddhist and I’m all against animal suffering, but considering the ecological disaster these frogs constitute and their monstrous reproductive capacity, they need to be put down and fast.
    But how to do so without causing excess suffering is an issue. Off the top of my head, I see 2 possible ways how to do this 1) take away the pain by some anaesthetizing, agent or 2) doing it really fast.
    While hemorrhoid cream may not put them in a coma, I’m sure they can find something else cheap which could knock them out pretty completely, but it might be expensive.
    The other option is then to hit them really fast and really hard, like an instant death method.
    That’s why they should invest in high speed steam rollers. 50 gram frogs vs 10 ton steam roller running at 30 miles per hour.
    Not only would it be quick and painless, it would be awesome.

  • I have just watched a programme on these pests, and my view (I am a born and bred East Londoner by the way)any method, be it biological, mechanical or chemical is justified in ridding Australia of the toads. By the way, any chance of Toad Joose being available in the UK? It would do wonders for the garden.

  • DougLass

    I thought the freezer was humane? After reading the comment saying it’s not, I’m a bit worried now about how to take care of them? I don’t want the creatures to suffer but I do want to rid them from my country as best I can. I have thought of other human solutions, such as dropping them into a liquid nitrogen flash, it is instant and painless, but it’s hardly viable or practical now is it? What is a humane and viable solution for the average household to use?

  • Reading comments that they kill pet cats or whatever which bite them.. Didn’t realise that cats and the like are native Australian species but it’s ok to keep them and let them go out hunting?

  • Hemorrhoid cream will NOT induce a coma in toads. It will stop them from moving and numb the outside of their bodies, but this won’t take the pain away from the long freeze.

    This death is designed to numb the human mind, not the toad. The only death more painfull I can think of is fire – yet because the toad doesn’t squirm or bleed they call this humane.

    There is a word for that kind of thinking; inhumane.

  • The Virtual Ranger

    I might just clarify, for some of our more pedantic overseas readers, that haemorrhoid cream is not a misprint but is the same thing as hemorrhoid cream, which, at the end of the day, is pile cream. See?


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