Crows have learnt how to eat cane toads

Members of the crow family, the corvids, show a capacity to learn and solve problems that may be unrivalled in the bird world. It seems their greatest skill is an uncanny ability to turn new and tricky situations to their advantage.

Take the scourge of the introduced cane toad (Rhinella marina) for example. As this highly poisonous amphibian disperses across northern Australia, the numbers of predators attempting to eat them are crashing. The most notable victims are quolls, goannas and certain snakes, which have been all but wiped out in some regions. Crows, however, have learnt how to eat toads by avoiding the most toxic parts.

The large parotid glands on the toad’s neck and shoulders are the greatest risk. When a toad is harassed, milky white poison oozes from these glands. Any contact with this ooze is a likely death sentence. In many cases they die before even swallowing the toad.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Clever crows have learnt how to make a meal of cane toads – Australian Geographic