Australian water rats have learned how to kill cane toads, eat their hearts and carve out their organs with “surgical precision”. In only two years, highly intelligent native rakali in the Kimberly region of Western Australia discovered how to safely destroy the deadly toad – by removing its gallbladder and feasting on the heart.The rats even targeted the biggest, most poisonous toads they could find, leaving their bodies strewn by the riverside, according to research published in Australian Mammalogy.
The researchers hypothesise that the rats either learned from scratch – by figuring out which parts of the toad made them sick – or already had previous experience from eating Australian native toxic frogs.
Other animals, like crows and kites, have been observed turning cane toads inside out to avoid the toxic skin and only eat non-poisonous organs, the report said. The rats face threats from pollution of waterways, can be caught in fishing line and discarded balloons, and hunted by stray cats, foxes and dogs.