Exploding toads baffle experts
Hundreds of toads have met an unexplained, explosive demise in Germany in recent days, it was reported on Saturday.
According to reports from animal welfare workers and veterinarians as many as a thousand of the amphibians have perished after their bodies swelled to bursting point and their entrails were propelled for up to a metre.
It is like "a science fiction film", according to Werner Smolnik of a nature protection society in the northern city of Hamburg, where the phenomenon of the exploding toad has been observed. "You see the animals crawling on the ground, swelling and then exploding," he said.
He said the bodies of the toads expanded to three-and-a-half times their normal size. "I have never seen such a thing," said veterinarian Otto
So bad has the death toll been that the lake in the Altona district of Hamburg has been dubbed "the pond of death".
Access to it has been sealed off and every night a biologist visits it between 2:00am and 3:00am, which appears to be peak time for batrachians to go bang.
Explanations include an unknown virus, a fungus that has infected the water, or crows, which in an echo of the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds, attack the toads, literally scaring them to death.
Or maybe it has something to do with that mysterious "biologist" who seems to show up every night around the time that the toads go boom. Whatever the cause, I'm sure that once all the facts are in we will find that Karl Rove is behind it.
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