Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Exploding toads!

Exploding Toads Puzzle German Scientists 'It Looks Like a Scene From a Science-Fiction Movie'

BERLIN (April 27) - More than 1,000 toads have puffed up and exploded in a Hamburg pond in recent weeks, and scientists still have no explanation for what's causing the combustion, an official said Wednesday.

AFP/Getty Images Toads like this one at a Hanover zoo have been swelling up and popping at one pond in Germany.

Both the pond's water and body parts of the toads have been tested, but scientists have been unable to find a bacteria or virus that would cause the toads to swell up and pop, said Janne Kloepper, of the Hamburg-based Institute for Hygiene and the Environment.

''It's absolutely strange,'' she said. ''We have a really unique story here in Hamburg. This phenomenon really doesn't seem to have appeared anywhere before.''

The toads at a pond in the upscale neighborhood of Altona have been blowing up since the beginning of the month, filling up like balloons until theirstomachs suddenly burst.

''It looks like a scene from a science-fiction movie,'' Werner Schmolnik, the head of a local environment group, told the Hamburger Abendblatt daily.

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