Conditioned taste aversion - as applied to goannas

@JudyEv (327759)
Rockingham, Australia
April 17, 2024 2:58am CST
In 1935 cane toads were introduced into Queensland from South America, in the hope of controlling cane beetles that were damaging sugar cane crops. However, they multiplied rapidly and have now spread across the whole top end of Australia and are making their way down the west coast. They have no natural predators. Native predators such as crocodiles, snakes, goannas and birds succumb to the toxins present in the skin of the toads. When the toads arrived in some areas, 90% of the goanna population perished. Researchers are now training goannas to avoid the toads by feeding them enough of the toxin to make them sick but not enough to kill them. This ‘conditioned taste aversion’ has proven very successful and the ‘teacher toad technique’ might be applied to other species. Goannas are important in keeping a balance with an ecosystem. Goannas are also an significant source of ‘bush tucker’ for aborigines and an important totem. The photo of a sand monitor/racehorse goanna was taken in our garden in Donnybrook.
13 people like this
13 responses
@grenery8 (3680)
• Croatia (Hrvatska)
18 Apr
goanna looks calm but i wouldn't disturb it
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
19 Apr
Vince got quite close to this one. Here is the original photo.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
20 Apr
@grenery8 They are not dangerous at all. I was surprised he didn't hightail it out of there before Vince got this close.
2 people like this
@grenery8 (3680)
• Croatia (Hrvatska)
20 Apr
@JudyEv why do i feel they are having a good talk about something? very brave of him and you, who caught the moment
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (461555)
• Switzerland
17 Apr
Why do humans always take stupid decisions? If nature wanted cane toads in that area, the toads would have been born there naturally.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (461555)
• Switzerland
18 Apr
@JudyEv They introduce animals that do not have natural predators in that area, then they regret their decision. Now we have an invasion of North American crayfish invading our lakes and streams and they are killing the native specie. Who is the idiot who brought them in and threw in the lake is unknown.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
@LadyDuck That is bad news. We have a fish in the outback streams that has been introduced from somewhere.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
That's so true. They never think far enough ahead with these types of decisions.
2 people like this
@snowy22315 (171806)
• United States
17 Apr
Very crafty of the scientists.
2 people like this
@snowy22315 (171806)
• United States
18 Apr
@JudyEv So, I was wondering, where do you come down on the whole Tasmanian tiger thing? It sounds like they are still around despite their extinct cattegory. I don't think it is going t stop scientists from trying to lab create them though.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
It is indeed. I think they've tried the same thing in smaller projects with spotted quoll (a marsupial).
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
@snowy22315 In case I'm misunderstanding, the spotted quoll is a separate species. The Tasmanian tiger is still considered extinct but there is also a Tasmanian devil which might be under threat but certainly isn't extinct. I haven't heard anything lately about them trying recreate the tiger but it could still be going on.
1 person likes this
@rebelann (111546)
• El Paso, Texas
17 Apr
That's a really neat looking kritter. Too bad they can't find a way to get rid of the toads. Would that even be possible.
2 people like this
@rebelann (111546)
• El Paso, Texas
18 Apr
That's really sad
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
They'll never get rid of the toads now - just like they'll never get rid of the rabbits.
2 people like this
@Hannihar (129926)
• Israel
18 Apr
@JudyEv Thank you for sharing this information with us.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
You're very welcome. I hope you're doing okay.
2 people like this
@Hannihar (129926)
• Israel
18 Apr
@JudyEv Yes I am doing ok and thanks.
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (34566)
20 Apr
Seems the toads have created a major problem for the ecosystem. Have they thought about exterminating some of them to keep their numbers under control?
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
21 Apr
They haven't found anything that helps with keeping their numbers down. Some people kill what they can but it makes little difference to the total numbers.
2 people like this
@dgobucks226 (34566)
23 Apr
@JudyEv Hmm, they multiply just like bunny rabbits.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (158080)
• United States
18 Apr
So aversion therapy for lizards. . . neat.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
I have to wonder how they can 'teach' enough lizards to make a difference but perhaps the word will spread.
1 person likes this
@RebeccasFarm (87051)
• United States
17 Apr
A cool photo thanks Judy. This is wonderful that the goannas are helping. What does bush tucker mean?
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@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
17 Apr
Tucker is food so bush tucker is food that you find in the bush, in the natural surroundings - goannas, seeds, nuts, birds, ducks, etc - what the aboriginals live on in their natural habitats.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Apr
@JudyEv I see then thanks Judy.
1 person likes this
@wolfgirl569 (97088)
• Marion, Ohio
17 Apr
It used to be thought to be a good idea. Now we know it's not smart to put species where they don't belong
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
18 Apr
It's pity they hadn't worked that out a lot earlier.
2 people like this
@Fleura (29284)
• United Kingdom
24 Apr
Funnily enough I just read about that too By the way I think 905 is meant to be 90% in your post
Australia can claim more than its fair share of environmental blunders, but the introduction of cane toads in 1935 surely ranks as one of the worst.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
24 Apr
Thanks for the link - and for picking up the error. I've fixed it now.
1 person likes this
@just4him (309711)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
17 Apr
I'm glad the project is successful.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
17 Apr
They've done this before but only in small areas. This was a much bigger project.
2 people like this
@LindaOHio (159894)
• United States
17 Apr
These invasive species are always a problem. Your goanna is quite handsome. Have a good day.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
17 Apr
The introduction of the rabbit has caused the most harm in Australia. And we'll never get rid of them.
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@LindaOHio (159894)
• United States
18 Apr
@JudyEv Same here in the US with many invasive species.
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@Beestring (13539)
• Hong Kong
17 Apr
Yes, goannas are helping to keep a balance in the ecosystem.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (327759)
• Rockingham, Australia
17 Apr
In such a place, every thing has its place and a reason for being there.
2 people like this