Tuesday, May 03, 2005

exploding frogs

this frog story has got me a little freaked out. I guess they resolved it though...

Hamburg's toad population is exploding -- literally. Toad entrails and mangled body parts now litter the city's once bucolic lake. What's the cause?

Quite an undignified death. The toads puff up to close to four times their size and then pop.Hamburg is often known as an idyllic port city of book publishers and media giants. Lately, however, the city's peace and quiet has been interrupted by a sickening natural oddity. Over 1,000 of the city's greenish-brown toads have swelled up to almost four times their normal size and then -- BANG! -- exploded, sending horrific entrails and body parts several feet into the pristine air. Stunned residents have nicknamed their city's once bucolic lake the "pond of death" and officials have cordoned off the area for investigation. Vets and animal welfare agencies have spent days puzzling over the deeply troubling and downright disgusting mystery. Is it a fungus? Is it a virus? Are the toads simply suicidal?Now, one amphibian specialist in Berlin, Dr. Frank Mutschmann, has come up with a clear -- albeit frightening answer. "It was probably crows," he said. Apparently, the nasty black bird's favorite treat is tasty foie de frog. The birds likely have been attacking the toads, pecking out their livers and then flying away. The rightly-terrified toads have then tried the only defense nature has given them -- they've puffed up in hopes of scaring the attacking bird away. But, with a hole in their bellies and no liver left, the "the lungs burst and the rest of the organs shoot straight out of the toads," Mutschmann said. The truly scary part is that about three to five hungry crows may be responsible for all the deaths. "Crows are very intelligent animals," Mutschmann said. "They learn quickly where, in just a short amount of time, they can come across lots of delicious livers." Perhaps it's time for a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." (2:30 p.m. CET)

Over the weekend, the chorus went to Virginia Beach and Busch Gardens for a competition. We won, swept it. However, I learned a valuable lesson at Busch Gardens because the park is designed to be a "tour of europe". Well, lets just say that the romatisism associated with different countries do not end, even when you know they are not true. Read between the lines as americanized Germany (ie: Bavaria) and a horified Denis, and frontier america with american jukebox music...

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