Day By Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Exploding Toads Update -- Batrachians Still Going Bang

I previously blogged a story about the mysterious case of exploding toads in Germany [here]. Well, here's the update -- the scientists called in to study the phenomenon are still baffled. Test of the toads and of the water show nothing unusual, except of course, that they are exploding!!!

Residents of the area have been cautioned to stay away from the "pond of death" where the toads explode. Makes sense to me.

Read about it here.


There seems to be an explanation. AP reports:

BERLIN - Why are toads puffing up and spontaneously exploding in northern Europe? It began in a posh German neighborhood and has spread across the border into Denmark. It's left onlookers baffled, but one German scientist studying the splattered amphibian remains now has a theory: Hungry crows may be pecking out their livers.


Based on the wounds, Mutschmann said, it appears that a bird pecks into the toad with its beak between the amphibian's chest and abdominal cavity, and the toad puffs itself up as a natural defense mechanism.

But, because the liver is missing and there's a hole in the toad's body, the blood vessels and lungs burst and the other organs ooze out, he said.

As gruesome as it sounds, it isn't actually that unusual, he said.

"It's not unique — it's in a city area, and that makes it spectacular," Mutschmann said. "Of course, it's something very dramatic."

There have also been reports of exploded toads in a pond near Laasby in central Jutland in Denmark....

Read about it here.

I guess that's why they call it a "murder of crows."


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