Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Toxic Toads Taking Over Australia 564

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bad-sci-fi-movie-ideas dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo News is reporting that toxic toads imported from Hawaii to help control the beetle population that was ravaging Australia's sugar cane crops have instead become pests themselves. From the article: 'The toads can grow as large as dinner plates and weigh up to 4.5 pounds. Their heads and backsides are studded with rows of warts that secrete a milky white toxin called bufotoxin. Because Australia has no native toads, many native predators such as snakes, lizards and mammals are very sensitive to the toxin. So when the toads spread, they immediately kill off many of the region's top predators.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Toxic Toads Taking Over Australia

Comments Filter:
  • Terrible Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:30PM (#14727929)

    From TFA:
    Cane toads (Bufo marinus) were first brought in from Hawaii in 1935 to control the spread of beetles that were ravaging Australia's sugar cane crop.
    Cane toads have been a problem in Australia for a very long time now....this is hardly news.

    So why is this a news story? From the TITLE of TFA:
    Toxic Toads Evolve Long Legs and Take Over Australia
    And from TFA:
    When the toads arrived, the researchers found that those in the vanguard of the invasion had legs that were up to 6 percent longer than average; shorter-legged stragglers followed. The study showed that newer populations of toads tended to have longer legs than those in long-established populations.
    This is the actual 'news', not the summary's title. Given the FIRST sentence from TFA:
    Toxic toads bound across the northern tropics of Australia faster than ever, thanks to the evolution of longer legs in the few short decades since humans introduced them to their own little paradise.
    ...it's bewildering how the submitter could have misinterpreted the article so badly, and mystifying how the editor failed completely to catch the misinterpretation.

    It's a shame that such an interesting story is derailed like this before it even gets started...the editors really do need to start reading submissions.
    • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:35PM (#14727979) Homepage Journal
      And that, my friends, is a beautiful first post. :-p
    • Evolution? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:37PM (#14728008)
      Wouldn't those in the vanguard have longer legs because those with longer legs put them in the vanguard?
      • Re:Evolution? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by krayzkrok (889340) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @08:43PM (#14728930) Homepage
        That is actually a highly relevant point. We do know that toads on the vanguard are significantly larger than those in established populations, and it may have nothing to do with evolution but rather a lot to do with population dynamics.

        The toads to first colonise an area will of course be the fittest, fastest toads; these are individuals that have eaten the most, grown the best, and able to move longer distances more quickly in search of new feeding areas. The motivation to move comes from competition in existing areas, and an abundance of "resources" (ie. food, space) in uncolonised areas. Less fit competitors take longer to move into new feeding areas because they are less able to do so. As far as the toads in the "older" established populations in Queensland go, they reached carrying capacity in the environment decades ago so there are no new areas to colonise, no abudant resources to lead to monsterous toads, and generally a much smaller average size given their short generation time.

        I have not read Ben's paper yet so I'm not sure whether the claims of evolution are simply media spin, but I know enough about toad population dynamics (I research toad impacts on native species) to question the assumptions made in TFA. Without knowing more about the research, the conclusions seem to be explainable through standard population models.

      • Re:Evolution? (Score:3, Informative)

        by f97tosc (578893)
        Wouldn't those in the vanguard have longer legs because those with longer legs put them in the vanguard?

        Yes, this brings up a good point. THere are basically two underlying, not necessarily exlusive evolutionary explanations:

        1. The first toads had some variation in leg length. Now only the ones with long legs are found at the vanguard.

        2.Some time since they were introduced, mutation(s) have occured given longer legs. These traits have then been strongly selected for.

        Clearly 1. is part of the expl
    • by ZipR (584654) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:40PM (#14728038)
      What do they mean 'evolved'? I think that several school boards across the country will agree with me when I say that the toads did not evolve, they were 'improved' by a 'designer.'
      • by WankersRevenge (452399) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:48PM (#14728121)
      • they were 'improved' by a 'designer.'

        version 2.0?

      • by Belseth (835595) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @07:28PM (#14728438)
        What do they mean 'evolved'? I think that several school boards across the country will agree with me when I say that the toads did not evolve, they were 'improved' by a 'designer.'

        I'd like to take the opposite stance. Have you ever seen a Kane Toad? Anything that butte ugly couldn't have been Intellegently Designed so in fact proves the nonexistence of God! Wait a minute, God must be taken on faith. So if something so incredibly ugly exists then it must prove the nonexistence of God because to assume it must have been designed to rely on faith to prove God's existence then it proves God does not in fact exist. I was worried there for a moment. If anyone has any questions I'll be standing next to the Zebra Crossing sign.

      • So... the toads that have longer legs and can therefore get to new food sources faster... are getting to new food sources faster?

        Every animal has a great potential for rapid adaptation to a new environment. It doesn't take many generations of highly selective breeding to alter an animal in ways that on the surface look very significant. Longer legs, beaks, different combinations of pigments, ... But in terms of DNA changes are really very minor, only selecting a different combination of attributes from an

      • You don't do your position any good when you ascribe to your opponents opinions that they don't actually hold. All IDers acknowledge the existence of microevolution.
    • by boggis (907030)
      Ah If only the editors had waited for my, lets face it, vastly superior story submission which took into account these facts (-8. The real story, as the parent pointed out is the slap in the fact to intelligent design advocates and their ilk when a fast reproducing species like the toad (20,000 eggs every few weeks) demonstrates evolution on a human timescale. If God's intelligently designing these faster toads the Kakadu Parks and Wildlife Service probably want a word with him.
      • No. Not really.

        Nearly no intelligent designer writes off evolution. They write off evolution being able to produce entirely new species altogether.
        • Nearly no intelligent designer writes off evolution. They write off evolution being able to produce entirely new species altogether.

          Exactly. We believe that tiny changes occur every once in a while, and that those changes could influence the survivability of an animal and increase the likeliness that the trait would survive in its offspring, and that over a couple million years, that would happen many, many, many, many, many, many times, we just don't believe any of those changes could possibly produce sex
    • Cane toads have been a problem in Australia for a very long time now....this is hardly news.

      I was also wondering about this. I remember reading about the problem in a magazine about 20 years ago. Thanks for the clarification, and now that you just gave us the gist of the article, I won't have to spend energy reading it (although probably spent more writing this)... but whatever. Marcos
    • ...it's bewildering how the submitter could have misinterpreted the article so badly, and mystifying how the editor failed completely to catch the misinterpretation.

      No, it's not -- this is Slashdot, remember?
    • ...it's bewildering how the submitter could have misinterpreted the article so badly, and mystifying how the editor failed completely to catch the misinterpretation.

      You must be new here.
    • by catwh0re (540371) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @08:44PM (#14728939)
      Here in Australia we've just discovered the Internet, so we're posting all our latest news articles from the 1930's to the Internet.

      Next week's lead article "Australia goes to battle against EVIL Nazis!", then in a few years time we'll post the article "Dingo eats baby in outback Australia."

  • OMFG! Giant Killer Toads taking over Australia! Say it isn't so!

    Honestly, is this actually news to anyone?

    You can learn pretty much everything you would ever want to know about the relationship between Cane Toads and the people of Australia in this delightful little movie:

          http://www.cane-toad.com/ [cane-toad.com]

    G.
  • by nizo (81281) * on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:30PM (#14727932) Homepage Journal
    Cane Toads [imdb.com] is a great documentary about these little beasties. Not only does it give a good overview of the cane toad saga in Australia, but it also includes interviews with some really bizarre people (the guy imitating the mating calls of the cane toad is particularly amusing).
    • by Wabin (600045)
      Dang, you beat me to it. That is one fantastic documentary. It does a great job of illustrating the potential follies of biocontrol. But scientists do always seem to think they have worked everything out this time.

      Some other wonderfully bizarre scenes include the girl playing with a toad that she has dressed in a tutu, and my personal favorite: the guy in the VW microvan swerving down the road trying to hit every toad in his path. You know you've gotten one when you hear a good pop.

    • by Alcimedes (398213) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:57PM (#14728194)
      Last I'd heard nothing was eating these toads.

      Nothing that is except a small population of Ravens that learned that if you flip the toads over, the bellys have no poison. As soon as one figured this out, others started to copy the behavior. Now ravens are disembowling these toads all over the place.

      Now that is cool.
    • What was missing from that documentary for me was this: What eats Cane Toads in Hawaii, a much smaller island that hasn't been overrun? And why don't we introduce THAT animal to Australia?
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:32PM (#14727948)
    Skinner: Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.

    Lisa: But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?

    Skinner: No problem. We simply release wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.

    Lisa: But aren't the snakes even worse?

    Skinner: Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.

    Lisa: But then we're stuck with gorillas! Skinner: No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's an okay reference, I suppose. A better would be:

      "Bufo marinus? I would'a called them Chazwazzes"
    • Re:Simpsons quote (Score:4, Informative)

      by irtza (893217) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:42PM (#14728050) Homepage
      I first lernt about this from the simpsons

      Homer: Hey, look! Those frogs are eating all their crops.

      from Bart vs. Australia [snpp.com]

      • by Gadgetfreak (97865) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @10:27PM (#14729460)
        The first thing I thought about when I saw the headline of the article was that Simpsons episode. The better quote, though, is

        Owner: [sweeping a bunch of toads out] Get out, get out! Shoo, shoo.
                      Get out of here, yuck! These bloody things are everywhere.
                      They're in the lift, in the lorry, in the bond wizard, and all
                      over the malonga gilderchuck.
        Clerk: They're like kangaroos, but they're reptiles, they is.
        Marge: We have them in America. They're called bullfrogs.
        Clerk: What? That's an odd name. I'd have called them "chazzwazzers".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNO-TOAD
  • Welcome (Score:2, Funny)

    by jalvear (610723)
    I for one welcome our new toxic toads overlords!
  • Haven't I seen this somewhere [snpp.com] before?
  • This is news? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cammoblammo (774120) <cammoblammoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:35PM (#14727978)
    I haven't RTFA yet, but this isn't exactly news Down Here--Cane toads have been pests for years, at least in the tropical north.

    The big news is that they are {evolving|being noodly appendaged} to be able to travel further (they're spreading at a rate of up to 60 km/year as opposed to 10 km/yr when they were introduced) and they are adapting to colder climates.

    Apart from their utility in practicing my golf swing, this is quite scary stuff for those of us here in the south.
    • by jdb8167 (204116) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @07:06PM (#14728271)
      The article might not be news but this is an old Usenet News classic:

      Death of a Cane Toad [google.com]

      • post text (Score:4, Informative)

        by Brewdles (701552) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @01:01AM (#14730125)
        (Damn the lameness filter!)

        First, an introduction.

        Cane Toads (Bufos Marinas?) are an obnoxious, brown, warty type of frog (OK, toad) that inhabit vast areas of Australia. Their introduction and proliferation in Australia is a classic example of ecology gone wrong. In the beginning, there were no cane toads in Australia. Sugar cane was introduced to its fair shores, along with the sugar cane came the cane beetle, a nasty, brown insect about 3/4 inch long.

        "How do we stop the cane beetle," ask the scientists, "the little fuckers are eating all our sugar cane."

        "Ahhh," says someone clever, "Why not look around the world to see what eats cane beetles, then introduce them into Australia and the problemo is solved!"

        Wrong.

        They found a natural predator in the cane toad, which came from Hawaii of all places. In 1935, 55 pairs (as in 110) cane toads were released in the small North Queensland town of Gordonvale. Unfortunately, Australia did not have any predators that liked to eat the toads, probably due to the poison glands on the back of their neck. Similarly, the cane toads found that there was much more interesting and tasty stuff to eat than boring old cane beetles.

        The result was a plague of biblical proportions.

        As a consequence, every man, woman and child living north of Sydney has grown up knowing the extreme pleasure of killing cane toads. Motorists swerve to hit them, cricketers hoist them for a six (equivalent of home run for you 'Merkins) over the boundary, weekend gardeners chase them down with a lawn mower.

        The following, is some of the many varied ways I have dispatched these nasty little buggers while I lived in Queensland. Perhaps some other Aussies can add to the list, what about you Hawaiians out there?

        THE THONG SLAP (TS)
        The Thong Slap (TS) is not fatal to a cane toad, but is an important component of many of the other means of disposal. To perform a TS, one quickly removes their thong (rubber, sandal-like footwear) and slaps a toad hard on the head. This stuns the toad and stops it from hopping all over the place.

        DEATH BY CLUBBING
        #1) Take golf clubs out into the back yard, usually only a 2-wood, 6-iron and 9-iron. Find a toad and dispatch with club of your choice. If the toad is sitting upright, use the driver. Extra points are
        awarded for lofted shots over the house and on to the street. Hitting a "slice" tends to result in separate pieces of toad.
        #2) Take a field hockey stick and dispatch as above. Remember not to raise the head of the stick above shoulder height, otherwise a penalty may ensue.
        #3) Using a cricket stump, first smash the toad with the blunt end, then reverse the stump and impale it with the pointed end. Shake the toad off the pointed end and repeat if necessary.

        DEATH BY GARDEN TOOL
        A special class devoted to common garden tools. Favorite tools are the shovel (hit with flat side, then chop up with blade), the mattock (chopping only), the pitch fork (see how many you can collect) and the
        axe (slice and dice).

        DEATH BY SPORTING EQUIPMENT
        Another special class, covering those instruments not involved with clubbing. Some nice effects can be gained with tennis rackets (small toads only - great for perfecting that two-handed backhand), darts
        (nothing like a moving bullseye) and football boots.

        DEATH BY SLICING AND CHOPPING
        #1) Take you mother's best carving knife outside and see if you *really* can throw it like a Bowie knife.
        #2) After performing a TS, flip the toad over and use an Xacto knife to practice your vivisection techniques. See how much you can remove and still get the toad to hop away.
        #3) Perform TS, throw toad into the air and try to hit with a machete. More points are awarded if the pieces are equal in size.

        DEATH BY SQUASHING
        #1) One of my all-time faves: Perform a TS, then throw the toad out onto a bust street. Bet with friends how many cars will miss it before it goes POP.
        #2) Go to the local cricket field late
  • A classic example (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:36PM (#14727985) Homepage
    You've gotta love it. When you mess with the eco-system, you've pretty much got to be careful-as-hell. The lessons taught in the movie "Jurassic Park" have been discussed for decades prior to the book's writing. (Although, I think that perhaps if they bred the toads to be lysene deficient...)

    Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what they come up with as a solution to the new non-indigenous toad problem. Will it be another mistake of the same type or will they attempt an artificial means to exterminate the toads? And wht of these toxins? Are they actually useful for anything? My guess is that they might be useful for making drugs... is this the same toxic toad that kids lick to get a trip on?

    They just need to get a collection of "Crocodile-Dundee" types together and have themselves a toad-hunt and then a Bah-bee.
    • Re:A classic example (Score:3, Informative)

      by Y2 (733949)

      You've gotta love it. When you mess with the eco-system, you've pretty much got to be careful-as-hell.

      When I first saw this on /. I was thinking "have we learned nothing..." Then I RTFCs and saw that this mistake was made in 1935. That puts it in the great run of eco-mistakes like mongooses to Hawaii, rose bushes to West Virginia, and Kudzu all over the south.

      Sure, there will be a new harmonious balance of nature eventually. We generally don't like it. And we pretty much never like the intervening

  • 5-MeO-DMT (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The toxic mixture present in Bufo cane toads contains up to 15% 5-MeO-DMT, similar to one of the most powerful hallucinogenic substances known to man, DMT (endogenous to the humain brain). Would be psychedelic experimenters in Australia now have a vast source of smokable material extractable from the toad saliva with a pipette or turkey baster.

    The high from the 5-methoxy version of DMT is not nearly as visual, but it's an incredible mindfuck. Check out Erowid [erowid.org] for details.

    This may cause hell for the enviro
  • Just call in the french.
  • back to our favorite show: THE HYPNO-TOAD
  • are these the toads i hear about in australia that you can lick and get high?
  • by aapold (753705) * on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:44PM (#14728068) Homepage Journal
    Last year, researchers announced they had successfully lured and trapped the toads using ultraviolet lights like those used in disco clubs.
    Why do I see that scientist from the simpsons demonstrating his toad-trapping discoteque invention before a bunch of skeptical townsfolk?
  • An exellent and extremely entertaining documentary about the cane toad invasion is known simply as "Cane Toads"

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130529/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZn x0dD0xfGZiPXV8cG49MHxrdz0xfHE9Y2FuZSB0b2FkfGZ0PTF8 bXg9MjB8bG09NTAwfGNvPTF8aHRtbD0xfG5tPTE_;fc=2;ft=2 2;fm=1 [imdb.com]

    The article has a little bit of new info regarding leg length. However, the documentary makes paints these as creatures completely absurd. You have to be to reproduce that quickly.

    Its so funny and bizzare that I didn't believe it was

  • Cane toads? I'd'a called 'em a 'chazwazzle'.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @06:45PM (#14728082) Homepage Journal
    Militants have taken over Russia! Calling themselves "Bolshivics" a group of Marxist seperatists, led by the charismatic "Lenin", recently siezed control of the city of Petrograd and fighting has spread to every other major city. Fighting in Moscow lasted about a week but has been relatively bloodless, not interrupting the opera or the ballet. Theaters, schools and government offices are still functioning but Bolshivic dominance of the Duma now seems assured.
    • It's obviously a y2k problem, Slashdot got reset to 1906 at the beginning of the year and it's taking them a while to catch up.

      Maybe when they get to 1982 they can slip Jobs a word about giving the Lisa a miss?

      PS: that's "Bolshevik".
    • by anothy (83176)
      ah, the good old days. before Stalin rose to power, destroyed communism, sold its soul to capitalism, power, and ambition, hunted down all the Trotskyites, demonized their ideas, and his and that fool Mao's pseudo-Communism stalled progress for half the world for a few decades, with some of it still going.
  • RTFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by sc0ob5 (836562)
    This is not news that there are toads Australia. The article is about the toads growing longer legs. Clearly not many people have actually read the article...
  • Toxic Toads Taste Terrific Tomorrow Today Time To Tie To Tang Tambourine Tazer..

    I was going to read the article but I was blindsided by the topic. Sorry if I let you guys down.
  • In case anyone was wondering, this isn't the psychoactive toad that's been a pop culture reference. Various TV shows have had episodes about toad licking (though according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] licking can be deadly, you're supposed to smoke the venom). That toad [wikipedia.org] is native to the US.
  • English:
    I, for one, welcome our new toxic toad overlords!

    Toad:
    ribbet, ribbet ribbt, ribbbit riibbite ribbit!
  • > Their heads and backsides are studded with rows of warts that secrete a milky white toxin called bufotoxin. Because Australia has no native toads, many native predators such as snakes, lizards and mammals are very sensitive to the toxin. So when the toads spread, they immediately kill off many of the region's top predators.

    That is the price we pay for being "clever" human beings. I wonder why on one hand, countries like Australia advocate for leaving nature to take its toll while on the other hand, t

  • So the toad has no natural predators in Australia? Here's the solution... just import whatever its predators are in Hawaii.

    Oh, and, so that we don't have this problem again, don't forget to import whatever their predators are (and so on). And, once we've had all of Hawaii's fauna displace the native ones, have Hawaii annex Australia... and rename it something like "Ulawakai'i". :)

    - Joe
  • Humane Killing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StArSkY (128453) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @07:03PM (#14728248) Homepage
    The damn cane toads are always in the news here.

    The current huge argument is over whether it is human to beat them to death with Golf clubs.

    Seriously, a NT minister suggested that golf clubs worked great, and lots of animal liberationists lost it, and suggested the only humane way was to put something on their back (can't remember what, put them in a plastic bag and then freeze them to death.

    Hello people, this Toad is destroying our Native wildlife and you are worried about cruelty ????

  • Wherein various new predators were introduced to control increasingly out of control predators. I think the final attempt used a 40 foot tall version of a domestic cat. I don't recall it turning out very well...
  • by PigIronBob (885337) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @07:09PM (#14728300)
    Coming from Brisbane (capital of Queensland), I am referred to as a 'Cane Toad' as are all Queenslanders, a slightly better nickname than our southern brothers from New South Wales who have the 'Cockroaches' predicate, Victorians are known as 'VWs' (Victorian Wankers). There is only 1 known predator that can handle the Cane toad and that is the native Crow, it has learned (clever little buggar) to flick the toad on its back and go for the belly, thereby avoiding the poison glands on the back, I would be tempted to say 'Go the Crows', but I'm from Brisbane, not Adelaide ;)
  • I for one welcome our dinner-plate sized, predator-killing overlords.
  • But all is not lost! Us sport-obsessed Australians have developed numerous new past-times with these wonderful beasts! There's Cane Toad Golf, the time honoured past time of wandering fields with a driver and rather than wasting good golf balls, working on your swing and ridding a national pest at the same time! Cane Toad Cricket, very similar to golf, but with a cricket bat. Not quite as much fun. Then there's Cane Toad racing, which I think will be hugely benifited by the increase in leg size - howeve
  • "Last year, researchers announced they had successfully lured and trapped the toads using ultraviolet lights like those used in disco clubs."

    If they're going to take over, lets not give them any ideas.
  • by Peaker (72084) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (rekaepung)> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @07:33PM (#14728476) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be a good idea to encode genetic weaknesses into creatures you are going to spread in such an environment, so that you can get rid of them in case they cause too much trouble?

    I am not sure about the exact implementation of this, but perhaps reducing resistability to some otherwise harmless disease, or increasing sensitivity to a type of poison...

    Any biology experts to comment on the idea?
  • Cane toad evolution (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ra Zen (924419)
    Yup, very bad title, since Cane Toads have been around for so long... but you all knew that already. I'm a PhD student studying evolutionary biology so I'd like to comment on the evolutionary aspects of the story. Specifically, the claim the that the long-leggedness of the toads on the forefront of the migration demonstrates evolution. This idea, of course, makes sense because legs are likely to help with dispersal. But, whether this will cause evolution or not depends on at least two factors: 1) Is leg
  • by AeroIllini (726211) <.aeroillini. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @08:37PM (#14728898)
    From TFA:

    Toxic toads bound across the northern tropics of Australia faster than ever, thanks to the evolution of longer legs in the few short decades since humans introduced them to their own little paradise...Last year, researchers announced they had successfully lured and trapped the toads using ultraviolet lights like those used in disco clubs.

    I guess those long legs are being put to good use. I'll bet that hallucinogenic stuff they secrete is a hit with the ladies on the dance floor.
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug@g e e k a zon.com> on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @08:50PM (#14728958) Homepage
    Man I hate cane toads. They are ug-a-leee little mofos. They hide in the daytime and come out at night, so you go walking around in the grass and something moves nearby, and Yikes, it's one of those little buggers. They're big and squashy and creepy looking, like atom bomb mutants from a 50s sci-fi movie. And fearless. Stomp your feet at them and they hop toward you, not away, and I've heard that they bite. The up side is that they really aren't poisonous unless you try to eat one (which is why the predators don't fare too well), or possibly if you manage to touch one without getting bit and then you ate something without washing your hands.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne

Working...