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Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988)

A documentary detailing the spread of Hawaiian sugar-cane toads through Australia in a botched effort to introduce them as counter pests.


Mark Lewis


Mark Lewis

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Tip Byrne Tip Byrne ... Himself - Cane Farmer from Tully
H.W. Kerr H.W. Kerr ... Himself - Director of the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, 1933-1943 (as Dr H.W. [Bill] Kerr)
Glen Ingram Glen Ingram ... Himself - Senior Curator Amphibia and Birds, Queensland Museum (as Dr Glen Ingram)
Bill Freeland Bill Freeland ... Himself - Wildlife Research Officer, Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory (as Dr Bill Freeland)
E.S. Edgerton E.S. Edgerton ... Himself - Former Member Cane Pest Board
Pat White Pat White ... Himself - Cane Farmer from Gordonvale
John Oakes John Oakes ... Himself - Resident of Cairns
Patrick Cook Patrick Cook ... Himself - Social Commentator
David Sondergard David Sondergard ... Himself - Resident of Gordonvale
Rob Floyd Rob Floyd ... Himself - Animal Ecologist (as Dr Rob Floyd)
Elvie Grieg Elvie Grieg ... Herself - Resident of Redcliffe
Max Ackland Max Ackland ... Himself - Mulgrave Shire Council (as Councillor Max Ackland)
Brian Hawke Brian Hawke ... Himself - Binding Conservator, National Library
Bob Endean Bob Endean ... Himself - Associate Professor of Zoology, Queensland University (as Dr Bob Endean)
Mike Archer Mike Archer ... Himself - Associate Professor of Zoology, University of N.S.W. (as Dr. Michael Archer)


Cane Toads is a documentary detailing the spread of Hawaiian sugar-cane toads (toads which live in the cane fields) through Queensland and then into the rest of Australia following a mis-informed attempt to introduce them to counter pests. Turns out they wouldn't eat the 'cane grubs' but they would multiply like no one's business... and they have no natural enemies in Australia at all, partly due to their poisonous skin. Written by Jay Furr <jfurr@danger.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a bizarre biological blunder, warts and all!! See more »







Release Date:

9 June 1988 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Természetellenes történet varangyokról See more »

Filming Locations:

Cairns, Queensland, Australia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Film Australia See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Mouse sequence filmed during regular feeding routine at Kurunda Wildlife Gardens. See more »


Followed by Cane Toads: The Conquest (2010) See more »


Cane Toad Blues
by Tim Finn
See more »

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User Reviews

Warning: not for the amphibicaly faint of heart
31 May 1999 | by percy-10See all my reviews

Woah, population explosion of giant poison toads invades Austrailia! No, it's not a late-night 70's B sci-fi, it's real life eco-bizarrity complete with mad scientist wielding a v.w. bus. This is perhaps the funniest piece of celluloid ever to give you the shivers about the seemingly limitless expanse of human stupidity. It traces the history of the cane toad in Australia from the seemingly innocent introduction of forty individuals into an eastern pond to the hopping copulating frenzy that now covers something like a third of the country. This movie gives you the works; their life cycle complete with in depth look at their, shall we say, unique sex lives, a magnetically grotesque interview involving doll clothes, and charming soundtrack integrating late-night 70's B movie effects with bouncy bluegrass. (An extra treat for all you Crowed House fans will be Neil and Tim Finn's piece sung from the point of view of the great cane toad himself.) Some people keep them as pets, put out bowls of catfood, and toad-watch for pleasure, others hate them with a white hot rage. Hear the facts, see the toads, and decide which side of the fence is for you. Either way, nicely paced, scientifically interesting, and well shot; Cane Toads is a feindishly hilarious black comedy of documentary, sure to please.

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