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Film: Cane Toads

Sunday, July 24, 2011
4:00 AM
Gates Lecture Hall, University of Michigan Biological Station on Douglas Lake, Pellston.

This is part of the 2011 UMBS Environmental Film Series. It is free and open to the public.

Cane Toads (1988), Unrated, 47 minutes. "Ugly even by toad standards, the cane toad is revealed to be an amazingly resourceful creature. It was imported to Australia from Hawaii in 1935 - to illustrate this, the director, Mark Lewis, shows glimpses of a train trip across Australia, from a toad's-eye view - in hopes that it would destroy a grub that threatened the sugar cane crop. However, the toads' lack of interest in eating grubs was matched only by their eagerness to multiply. There are now millions of cane toads in Queensland, descended from an original group of only 101. ... ''Cane Toads'' is funny, but it's also well balanced; it captures the real danger that the toads pose to their new environment. Their skin secretes a deadly poison (which also doubles as a hallucinogenic drug for some Australians, the film reveals), and as a result they have caused great damage to other species. They have also multiplied at a frightening rate, which is why some of the Australians whom Mr. Lewis interviews have such enterprising ways of killing them." --New York Times, March 21, 1988