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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 »


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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


An Unnatural History 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 »


Warts N All
by Don Spencer and Allan Caswell
See more »

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User Reviews

1 September 2002 | by emingesSee all my reviews

I ignored this title for years at my local whacked-out video emporium. When I finally broke down and rented Cane Toads, for the first thirty or forty minutes I watched politely as Mark Lewis unfolded his little story of toads, Australians, and Holdens of every year, color, and condition swerving to avoid/hit one of God's little jokes on the open road. I mean, it's OK, but why has this thing been in print for a decade and a half?

Then about 2/3 of the way through I got the giggles. This is DESPERATELY messed up. If you hang out with any biology majors, Cane Toads is absolutely required reading. If you don't, just think how wrecked you'd have to stay on Foster's before you'd let your terminally cute four-year-daughter play Barbies with a creature from Hell itself that comes pre-loaded with 10cc of hallucinogenic toxins in its skin.

Cane Toads is what Fast, Cheap and Out of Control should have been. Proof that sometimes it's a lot more effective to speak quietly than yell.

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