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AUSTRALIANS HOPPING MAD OVER `YUK' TOADS

Some people in Australia will try anything to get a few yuks: golf clubs, trucks, air rifles. They're not for laughs, though. They're for getting toads, reports 3-2-1 CONTACT magazine.

That's because these slimy cane toads, called "yuks," are making people hopping mad. The ugly toads are taking over Australia, at a rate of 17 miles a year.First brought over from Hawaii nearly 60 years ago to wipe out beetles, the yuks are now elbowing out other wildlife. And nothing seems to stop them.

Any animals that tangle with the toad - birds, cats, dogs, snakes - die before they can swallow it. The toad squirts a deadly poison from glands on its back.

People aren't having much luck getting rid of the yuk, either. They shoot them with air rifles, only to see them recover and hop away. They freeze the toads - and later discover the slimy things have warmed up again. Even running them over in a truck doesn't work.

"When the toad is run over, its intestines pop out of its mouth," explains Greg Czechura, an authority on toads. "But after a few minutes, it simply swallows its guts and limps off in the bushes." Yuck.