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Satire - 'Black Mambas to Help Eradicate Cane Toads'


Circulating report claims that the Government is set to introduce 22,000 black mambas to farms and backyards in the Burdekin region of Queensland, Australia in an effort to control cane toads.

Cane Toad

Brief Analysis

Of course, the claims are untrue. The story is fiction. It originates from the satirical publication, The Burdekin Herald and is intended as entertaining and humorous social commentary. Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in the 1930's in an ill conceived and ultimately disastrous attempt to control cane beetles. 


Government to introduce 22 000 Black Mambas to help eradicate cane toads

In an effort to help stop the spread of cane toads, the state government has partnered with the Burdekin Shire Council to introduce up to 22 000 Black Mambas into farms and urban backyards around the Burdekin.

Black Mamba Cane Toad Control

Detailed Analysis

According to a report currently circulating via social media, the government in the Australian State of Queensland is about to introduce 22,000 black mambas to the Burdekin shire in the state's north. Supposedly, the deadly reptiles are being brought in to farms and back yards in the region to help eradicate cane toads. Not surprisingly, however, the claims hold nary a grain of truth. The story was published by the local satirical website The Burdekin Herald, and was never intended to be taken seriously. The site's "About" page explains:

The contents of this site are entirely fictional and are meant as a parody.  Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental, even if they have the same names and are exactly alike in every respect except for a potentially defamatory one.

Unlike many of the sites that attempt to palm themselves off as satirical these days, The Burdekin Herald's articles are genuinely funny, topical, and - like all good satire - draw attention to important social, cultural, and political issues. 

The background elements of the story may be unclear to non-Australians, so a brief history lesson is perhaps in order.

During the 1930's, cane toads, originally from Central and South America, were introduced to Australia in an effort to control native beetles that were detrimental to sugar cane crops.

It is unclear if the original introduction of toads had any meaningful impact on cane beetles at the time, since no real data was collected. But, the beetles are common today.  And, cane toads have become a very signficant environmental problem. Their population has grown into the hundreds of millions and they have now spread far afield of the original north Queensland release points.

In reality, introducing black mambas to control cane toads would be no less ill conceived an idea as introducing cane toads to control cane beetles. Ironically, black mambas that ate cane toads may well die after eating toads, as do many of Australia's own snake species.

Last updated: January 24, 2014
First published: January 24, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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Government to introduce 22 000 Black Mambas to help eradicate cane toads
The Burdekin Herald - About
Cane Toads in Oz