A cane toad was pulled out of the throat of a snake after it got stuck in its belly. The footage shows the toad being pulled head first out of the jaws of the snake after an X-ray showed that the toad was in the middle of its stomach.
Videos of the removal of the toad were posted on Facebook by the snake catcher who found the animal in distress and by the veterinarian who performed the procedure.
Stuart McKenzie of Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, a snake-catching service in eastern Australia, said he found the snake when it was “almost dead”. It had been caught in a net bag in an apartment building, and when he removed it from the bag he noticed that there was something wrong with the snake.
“It seemed as if he had inner pain and as if what he was eating was not sitting well,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
The snake, a keelback, was taken to the Animal Emergency Service in Tanawha, Queensland, where veterinarians noticed a “very hard object” in the snake’s abdomen. The animal appeared “dull and lethargic,” they said in a Facebook posting.
“Upon arrival, an x-ray was taken, which showed that the snake had eaten a small animal that had jammed in the middle of its stomach and was most likely causing it discomfort. Our veterinarians carefully performed palpations so that the object could be milked from the stomach and removed from the mouth. It turned out that the small animal was a rather large toad”.
Keelbacks are Australia’s only non-toxic semi-aquatic snake. It is a small species that grows to a maximum length of about three feet, although most are about half that size. They tend to live near freshwater sources such as streams and swamps and feed on vertebrates such as frogs and lizards. Unlike most snakes, the keel beams feed on their prey from behind.
In Australia, the green toad is an invasive species. It became a pest after it was introduced in the 1930s as a means of controlling destructive beetles in Queensland’s sugar cane crops. Not only do they compete with native species, but they are also poisonous and capable of killing predators that try to eat them. Keelbacks are one of the few animals that can tolerate the poison of the sugarcane toad. This makes them important for controlling invasive species.
The Queensland government says that the tolerance of keelbacks to cane toads probably has more to do with the “built-in characteristics” of the species than with adaptation. It is believed that the keelback toads evolved in Asia, where they would have encountered other species with similar toxins to the natterjack toad.
The snake in the video revived as soon as the green toad was removed from its throat. “Keelbacks can eat tube toads, but unfortunately because of the snake being trapped in a net, the food did not sit properly in their stomach and they had to come out,” McKenzie wrote.
He said he watched the snake overnight and released it back into the wild the next day.