Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Globe-hopping toad finds new home in SA

They say cats have nine lives. Now a Chinese toad has joined that club of wily survivors.

South Africans are marvelling at the endurance of a toad that got trapped in a cargo shipment from China to Cape Town after jumping into a porcelain candlestick that was made there.

South African officials reportedly planned to put down the creature, fearing it would cause harm as an invasive species if it were let go in the wild.

But the toad got a last-minute reprieve. Mango Airlines transported the toad on Friday to Johannesburg for delivery to an animal sanctuary after officials decided to find a way to let the globe-trotting toad live.

The two-hour flight was a breeze compared to the trip from China, an odyssey of many weeks and thousands of kilometres across the Indian Ocean.

Airline spokesperson Hein Kaiser said the toad got "first-class treatment," sitting in the cockpit in a transparent plastic container with escort Brett Glasby, an animal welfare inspector. There was even a mock ceremony in which the toad's boarding pass was handed to Glasby.

"He was the star of the show on the flight," Kaiser said of the amphibious passenger. "I think every passenger stopped to have a look."

On landing in Johannesburg, the toad, dubbed Jack B Nimble, was brought out of his container for a celebrity-style photo call.

Observers said the mottled brown toad seemed like a cool customer. "Pretty chilled," as Kaiser put it.

It belongs to the Asian Gold Toad species, which breeds during monsoon season.

It is believed to have survived the trip from China by hardening its skin to prevent it drying out and also slowing its breathing and heart rate, methods that help the species survive in times of drought.

"We've had snakes in the imported timber, scorpions in fruit. We were called because it was right inside the candlestick and we had to break it to get it out," Glasby, the inspector, told The Star, a South African newspaper.

"It was manufactured in China and the box was not opened between China and the store here, so we can deduce it has come all the way from China."

A startled customer at a store spotted a toad leg sticking out of the candle holder, according to the Cape Town region's animal protection agency, the SPCA.

Conservationists fed the toad worms and crickets after its rescue. By all accounts, the toad ate like a horse.

Its new home is the Montecasino entertainment complex in Johannesburg. The toad will be in quarantine for a couple of weeks and is slated for display next month.

The toad's adventures got rave reviews on the SPCA's Facebook site.

"What a special Christmas story!!" one posting said. Said another: "Most famous Toad in the world." – Sapa-AP.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Sapa Ap
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

GDP, recession, JSE, rallying rand … these terms mean very...

The economy is not producing work, with many young adults working outside their fields of study or considering leaving the country as a result

More top stories

Europe, Asia rob West Africa of fish

Greenpeace Africa reports that the fishmeal and fish oil industry is ‘robbing the Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal of livelihoods and food’

Covid jab tech helps fight malaria

An estimated two-thirds of malaria deaths are among children under the age of five, most of them in Africa.

Learners moving to other provinces puts education departments under pressure

Gauteng and the Western Cape struggle to put children in class, but Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are closing schools as enrolment plummets

New membership system encounters problems in ANC branches

The Lower South Coast region has complained of a plot by some branch secretaries to manipulate the system
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×