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On one of the many travels, we encountered a very strange souvenir; a toad coin purse. We started doing research and found many interesting things about the toad that became the leather.

Everybody knows a toad from a frog. A toad has dry warty skin but frogs do not which is common knowledge. Now from the experts, scientifically there is no definite distinction between a toad and a frog, they are all under class Amphibia order Anura.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura

The particular toad we are interested in the specie Bufo marinus, known as the Giant Neotropical Toad or commonly called the "cane toad" as it is usually found in sugarcane plantations.

They are large and ugly, have warts all over, and big round eyes. Behind the eyes are glands called paratoid glands. These paratoid glands can also be found along its back but not as large as the ones behind the eyes. The purpose for these glands are for defense; when harassed, they excrete a poison called bufotoxin. If you eat this toad, you risk your life as the poison has been known to kill a person. Handling the cane toad without proper care can result to illness.

An interesting side note: extract from the skin of certain Asian toads, such as Bufo gargarizans, is often found in certain Chinese folk remedies.

Cane toads can grow up to 24 cm long and weigh 1.36kg! In captivity, they can live up to 20 years but in the wild live to about 15 years.

The skin of the cane toad is strong and flexible. After the tanning process it retains these qualities but also becomes softer and more supple. It makes up into excellent leather goods and when backed with pigskin is both tough and durable.

Stuff to Know

Cane toad (Bufo marinus)
Maximum size & weight:
24 centimeters long (9.45inches). Maximum weight 1.36kg (3lbs approx.)
Maximum age:
20 years in captivity, 15 in the wild
No. Australia encourages disposal of cane toad because it has become to many to be helpful.
Where it lives in the wild
Native to the Americas, from southern Texas to north Argentina. Introduced in various locations for pest control; Australia, Florida, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Ogasawara Islands and Ryukyu Islands of Japan, most Caribbean islands and many Pacific islands including Hawai'i and Fiji.
Where is it farmed?

Not farmed but can be raised as pets.

Dangerous to humans?
Cane toads handled carefully are harmless.
Afraid of humans?
People injured yearly
Usually word of mouth, a pet dog got poisoned and died but no official records to show about human injuries.
People killed yearly by

Sorry, we do not have records to show.

An interesting fact about bufotoxin: it contains chemicals that can act on the heart and nervous system causing salivation, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, convulsions and death. Chemicals include 5-MeO-DMT, bufagins, bufotalin, bufotenine, bufothionine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Is meat edible?
Uncertain. May we suggest frogs instead? The farmers of northeastern Thailand have a delicacy made from frogs found in the rice fields. Of course, if you don't mind the hot chili peppers, herbs and spices.
Taste of meat
We are not entirely sure what it tastes like. Now frog legs taste like bird meat, the kind hunted as small game and that's a rare delicious treat.
Living habits:
Cane toads actually prefer areas disturbed by people and farm animals. Flattened areas make it easier to get around, and they do that well.

Cane toads huddle together in groups to stay damp during the day. At night they become active, mainly eating and breeding. They are relatively solitary.

Eating habits:
The main diet of the cane toad are insects but they are not fussy eaters. They have been known to eat small snakes, frogs, lizards and even mice. They will also eat bees straight out of the hive and dog food out of the bowl. They will eat their own young if necessary.
Farming style:
The cane toad is not farmed but is usually caught and killed. They can be caught using a dark ultraviolet lamp as a lure. Disposing cane toads in accordance to animal welfare suggest freezing them overnight.
Harversting weight and size:
There are no formal statistics available. On an interesting note, there is a manufacturer specializing in cane toad traps. The trap is designed to let it in but not get out. It has plastic finger-like objects lined from the entrance to the inside pointing inwards.
Skin processing:

The cane toad is skinned and removed from flesh, fat and connecting tissues then it is salted to kill to avoid decomposition. The tanning process follows that of chicken leather.

Leather durability:
Strong and flexible.
Leather softness:
Becomes softer and more supple after tanning process.
Other Leather features:
Grain improves over time from natural oils of our hands and constant contact with clothes and movement.
Leather relative value (1-10) in finished products.