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Aussie Travelers Urged to Check Shoes for Dead Toads

A sniffer dog found a hitchhiking amphibian in one man's shoe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 11, 2017 8:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Australian quarantine authorities have urged travelers from Asia to avoid bringing in hitchhiking amphibians after a passenger arrived at an airport with a dead Indonesian toad in his shoe. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources issued the warning on Thursday for travelers to check their luggage and other belongings for biohazards after toads from Thailand and Indonesia were found recently at three Australian airports, the AP reports. Lyn O'Connell, the department's head of biosecurity, says a sniffer dog reacted to a shoe that an Australian was wearing as he arrived at Cairns Airport in northeast Australia.

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O'Connell says the black-spined toad found by a biosecurity officer inside the shoe had only recently died and was probably alive when the passenger put the shoe on in Indonesia. O'Connell says toads are sometimes found in the luggage of people arriving from Southeast Asian nations, though generally not in shoes or other items that people are actually wearing, the Courier Mail reports. She says the black-spined toad has no natural predators in Australia and it would have been extremely damaging to native frogs and toads if the stowaway species had managed to establish itself in the country. (Australian biosecurity officials recently incinerated a collection of rare daisies from the 1850s.)

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