Snake Has Cane Toad Pulled From Throat After Biting Off More Than It Could Chew

A snake had a cane toad pulled from its throat after it got stuck in its abdomen. Footage shows the toad being yanked head first from the snake's jaws after an X-ray revealed the toad lodged midway down its stomach.

Videos of the toad being removed were posted to Facebook by the snakecatcher who found the animal in distress, as well as by the veterinarian that performed the procedure.

Stuart McKenzie, from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, a snake catching service in eastern Australia, said he found the snake when it was "close to being dead." It was caught in a mesh bag at a residential property and when he removed it from the bag, he noticed something was wrong with the snake.

"It seemed like he was hurting internally and that whatever he ate wasn't sitting too well," he wrote in a Facebook post.

What Comes Out Of This Snake?!This is the Keelback from yesterday that was close to being dead when I arrived. It seemed like he was hurting internally...

The snake, a Keelback, was taken to the Animal Emergency Service in Tanawha, Queensland, where vets noticed a "very hard object" in the snake's abdomen. The animal appeared "dull and lethargic," they said in a Facebook post.

"On arrival, an X-ray was taken which revealed the snake had eaten a small animal which had become lodged midway in his stomach and most likely causing him discomfort. Our vets gently performed palpations to allow the object to be milked from the stomach and removed from its mouth. The small animal turned out to be quite a large toad."

Keelbacks are Australia's only non-venomous semi-aquatic snake. It is a small species, growing to a maximum length of around three feet, although most are around half this size. They tend to live near freshwater sources like creeks and swamps and tend to feed on vertebrates like frogs and lizards. Unlike most snakes, keelbacks feed on their prey from the rear.

Cane toads are an invasive species in Australia. They became a pest after being introduced as a way of controlling destructive beetles in Queensland's sugarcane crops in the 1930s. As well as competing with native species, they are poisonous and are able to kill predators that try to eat them. Keelbacks are one of the few animals that can tolerate the cane toad's poison. This makes them important to the control of the invasive species.

The Queensland government says the tolerance of keelbacks to cane toads is likely to do with "inbuilt characteristics" in the species, rather than adaptation. It is thought keelbacks evolved in Asia where they would have encountered other species with similar toxins to the cane toad.

The snake in the video perked up as soon as the cane toad was removed from its throat. "Keelbacks can eat cane toads but unfortunately due to the snake being stuck in a bit of netting the food wasn't sitting right in its belly and it needed to come out," McKenzie wrote.

He said he monitored the snake overnight and released it back into the wild the next day.

cane toad
Stock image of a cane toad. The snake got the toad lodged in its abdomen and was taken to a veterinarian where the prey was removed. iStock