Poisonous Toads Hitch Ride On Python To Escape Flood


Bad weather can bring all sorts of surprises, from flooding to power outages. But heavy rain in Australia can be especially dangerous — like 10 poisonous toads riding a python dangerous.

That is exactly what Paul Mock spotted outside his home in Western Australia on December 30. Fearing that the heavy rains that night might break the banks of his dam, Mock went outside, and according to The Guardian, saw thousands of cane toads fleeing their flooded burrows.

Most of the amphibians were huddled on the grass, except for a select few who had chosen a different perch: an 11-and-a-half-foot python, nicknamed “Monty” by locals, who was also making his way to higher ground.

Paul’s brother Andrew Mock wasted no time in posting a photo of the horrifying sight to Twitter.

“68mm just fell in the last hour at Kununurra,” Andrew Mock wrote on Twitter. “Flushed all the cane toads out of my brother's dam. Some of them took the easy way out — hitching a ride on the back of a 3.5m python.”

Andrew Mock had never seen anything like it, but he wasn’t entirely surprised, either. “[I] thought it was pretty hilarious,” Mock told The Dodo. “Not unexpected though — the wildlife in Northern Australia is known for being bizarre.”

The photo of the odd event has been viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the past three days — including by Dr. Jodi Rowley, curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology at the Australian Museum. She had a slightly different take on why the toads might be attaching themselves to the olive python.

According to Rowley, the opportunistic male toads were simply looking for a good time, and weren’t going to let a little rain stand in their way.

Some commenters were horrified by the toads' behavior, while others have been concerned for the reptile’s well-being. Cane toads are considered pests in Australia’s North Coast, breeding prolifically and poisoning native species in search of an easy snack.

But Andrew Mock reassured people on Twitter that no harm has come to Monty, who knows to look elsewhere if he gets hungry — and not to try and fight a deadly toad (or 10) when they hitch a “ride.”

“The snake has lived in that area for a few years now and has obviously managed to adapt,” Mock wrote. “‘Monty’ is still alive and well.”