Feeds

Exploding toads baffle Germans

Corpses litter Hamburg 'pond of death'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Updated German toad experts are baffled by an acute outbreak of exploding toad syndrome which has totalled hundreds of the amphibians since the beginning of the month. The former inhabitants of a Hamburg pond - now chillingly renamed the "pond of death" - spontaneously swelled to enormous proportions before going bang, in the process propelling their entrails for up to a metre.

Hamburg nature protection society spokesman, Werner Smolnik, told the Hamburger Abendblatt daily: "It looks like a scene from a science-fiction movie. The bloated animals suffer for several minutes before they finally die."

Janne Kloepper, a boffin at Hamburg-based Institute for Hygiene and the Environment, added: "It's absolutely strange. We have a really unique story here in Hamburg. This phenomenon really doesn't seem to have appeared anywhere before." She added that lab tests have ruled out a bacteriological or viral cause of the explosions, and have further shown the pond water to be normal. Tests for another possible agent - a fungus accidently introduced from South America* - have also proved negative.

The authorities have moved swiftly to protect the public from the exploding toad menace. The pond is now closed and a biologist is on station every night between 2 and 3am, when toad explosions reach a peak.

In Australia, meanwhile, we're certain that toadologists are awaiting with eager anticipation the identification of the cause of the exploding German toad. Oz currently hosts 100 million unwelcome cane toads and there's nothing the Aussies would like more than to see a landscape littered with the corpses of eviscerated, exploded toads. ®

Update

Mystery solved. We're obliged to those readers who sent us the breathless news that today's Der Spiegel says crows have been fingered as the culprits. Apparently the crow pecks a small hole in the toad to get at the liver. The toad begins to inflate itself - its normal defence mechanism - but because there is no separation between lung cavity and abdomen, the poor blighter keeps on expanding until it goes pop. That's the gist of it, at least. We're going to conclude by noting that if you tried to make this up, your friends would probably advise you to seek professional help.

Bootnote I

Ta very much to regular reader Rose Humphrey for the exploding toad alert.

Bootnote II

*We have no further information about the Latin American toad-detonating fungus. The mind boggles.

Related stories

Aussies deploy toad-blasting audio killing machine

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.