Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cane Toad: What Happened to Baz?

Byter Arthur told me last night that his favourite Bytes are those that deal with the origins of well known Australian expressions. I told Arthur I would do one for him but I’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking, fair dinkum, so haven’t managed to do it yet.

Nonetheless, Arthur, here is a video that includes some of the expressions and flavour of the Australian character and idiom, Cane Toad: What Happened to Baz?  It has been around for a while so whether you have seen it before or not, take the time to have a butcher’s hook by clicking on:
It is a little gory at times.  Watch it to the very end for the final images.

Cane Toad: What Happened to Baz? concerns the conjectures of Darryl (“my mates call me Dazza”), as to the disappearance of his mate Barry (“Baz”) "because, pickle me grandma, the silly old bugger has gone bloody missing.” Those speculations reveal the disregard held for cane toads by the human population, understandable in that the cane toad is one of the least lovable creatures in existence.

The video was made in 2002 by David Clayton and Andrew Silkie, Queensland animators, who took 6 months off work to make the short film for submission to festivals. It has since become a cult classic.

By the way:

- The Cane Toad is also known as Bufo Marinus, the Giant Neotropical Toad and the Marine Toad. It was given the name Cane Toad in Australia because of its introduction to control Cane Beetles in sugarcane fields.

- The average adult male is 10-15cm in length although the largest recorded was 38cm.

- Female cane toads lay thousands of eggs at a time.

- Cane toads have poison glands and are toxic to wildlife. The tadpoles are also toxic if ingested.

- Introduction to Australia began in 1935 after successful use of cane toads in Hawaii and the Philippines to combat cane beetles. Although introduced in Queensland, they have spread to the Northern Territory and NSW. They have also now been found in WA.

- The attempt to use cane toads to control cane beetles was unsuccessful in that the cane fields did not offer sufficient shelter for cane toads during the day.

- The presence of cane toads has affected biodiversity in that some species have declined from cane toad areas (certain snakes, lizards and crocodiles), allowing the animals that were formerly prey to increase.

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