Feeds

Exploding toads baffle Germans

Corpses litter Hamburg 'pond of death'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.