Like hitting a slightly rotting orange with a golf iron/Explodierende Kröten

The Times Online reports:

bq. AN OUTBREAK of exploding toads is perplexing the residents of Hamburg. The affected creatures seem to behave quite normally, croaking and languidly snapping up flies. Suddenly, after nightfall, they start to balloon to more than three times their normal size and can barely crawl before popping. Their entrails are expelled distances of up to one metre. …
Dogs and children have been warned away. The force of the explosions is impressive. “It’s like hitting a slightly rotten orange with a golf iron,” one Green activist explained yesterday.

The paper adds:

bq. Germans are particularly attached to toads and they have become, in some respects, a symbol of the Green movement.

One theory is that the toads have been attacked by crows. Those that survive blow themselves up and then explode because their skin has already been broken. Der Standard (Austria) reports:

bq. Eine ganz andere Erklärung hat Amtstierarzt Otto Horst vom Bezirksamt Altona. Er stützt sich auf das Gutachten eines Berliner Amphibienexperten, der angesichts der rätselhaften Kröten-Explosionen zur Hilfe gerufen worden war. Demnach wurden die Tiere Opfer von aggressiven Krähen, die es auf die schmackhafte Leber der Amphibien abgesehen hatten. “Sie sind über die Erdkröten hergefallen, haben sie von der Seite angepickt und die Leber herausgezogen”, erklärt Horst. Die Amphibien, die nicht sofort gestorben seien, hätten sich dann in Panik solange aufgebläht, bis die ohnehin aufgerissene Haut geplatzt sei.

Thanks to Abnu.

10 thoughts on “Like hitting a slightly rotting orange with a golf iron/Explodierende Kröten

  1. Since toads seem unlikely suicide bombers, I suspect that they are consuming something before they go to bed at night that causes uncontrollably severe nocturnal flatulence. Berlin breezes are now so sweet that it could be that Mr Toad is suffering from aerophagia, and it’s all the Greens fault.

  2. Margaret
    I guess this is the only country with a “Toads Crossing” roadsign? I feel sorry for toads, so much so I might even adopt the next one I see.


  3. Paul: Google images reveals a fair number of ‘toads crossing’ signs in Britain too.

    The latest theory (via Süddeutsche Zeitung)
    is based on the fact that there was no bacterial or fungal infection, nor was there anything wrong with the water (they tried it on water fleas and guppies). All toads examined had an ‘incision’ and everything except the heart was missing. The crows (mentioned elsewhere) attacked the toads for their livers and in doing this flung the rest of the innards a metre or more away. The toads survived the attacks and then filled up with water. People who saw the waterlogged bodies and the innards strewn around thought the toads had exploded.
    This would mean that the story has been all over the press for a couple of days and yet no-one has actually seen a toad explode.

  4. This just in from Anannova:

    Police save frogs from juicers

    Police in Peru have launched a campaign to save frogs from being turned into an aphrodisiac drink.

    ‘Frogshake’ is popular among native Peruvians as a stimulant that enhances male sexual performance.

    Police saved 4,000 frogs from being juiced to make the drink in a raid on a warehouse in Lima.

    Terra Noticias Populares reports the frogs were packed in boxes and were about to be liquidised.

    But they have now released the animals into a nature reserve.

    A police spokesman said: “It is our new crusade, to save the frogs from those juice-makers!”

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