Articles, Blog

A Murder of Crows and the Exploding Toad Epidemic

December 18, 2019

In the spring of 2005 during their mating
season, toads in Germany and Denmark began exploding. Spewing guts, blood and skin for nearly a
yard in every direction; the disturbing phenomenon at first baffled concerned scientists, although
they eventually discovered the cause of the fatal condition. Observed near two ponds during that spring,
one in the Altona district of Hamburg, Germany, and the other near Laasby in Jutland, Denmark,
some of the explosions were actually witnessed by environmental scientists. First, they began with “several minutes”
of “agonizing and twitching” followed by the toads blowing up like a balloon, and
then culminating in an explosion. As the environmental workers noted, after
“the toads burst, the entrails slid out. But the animals [weren’t] immediately dead
– they keep struggling for several minutes.” With no explanation at hand, scientists with
Hamburg’s Institute for Hygiene and the Environment tested the pond’s water quality,
searched for a fungus or virus (the latter of which was hypothesized to have been transmitted
from horses at a nearby race track), and even considered the somewhat fantastical notion
that the toads may have been purposely killing themselves to prevent overpopulation. (Aside: Ants sometimes do something like this,
for the good of the colony. Specifically, certain species of ants have
suicide bomber ants. When these suicide bomber ants encounter enemies,
such as ants from another colony, they will literally explode, causing a chemical to cover
the enemies around them. This chemical is extremely sticky and when
it dries will immobilize any enemy ants, eventually resulting in them dying. The Forelius pusillus ant also has worker
ants that will sacrifice themselves for the good of the colony, but this time in a slightly
different manner than the exploding ants. Every night, the nest of a colony needs sealed
off in such a way that the nest will be undetectable from the outside, in order to protect it from
predators. As such, sick ants or ones who are older will
apparently volunteer to perform the task of staying outside the nest at night. Once all the rest of the ants are inside,
the sacrificial ants will seal up the entrance and usually will end up dying from being left
outside. Even when researchers have collected these
sacrificial ants and taken care of them, they usually die soon anyways, which is why it
is thought that generally older or sick ants are chosen for this task.) In any event, each of these theories on the
exploding frog front were rejected, and authorities were forced to warn residents away from the
pools until an answer was found. An eminent amphibian expert from Berlin, Dr.
Frank Mutschmann, carefully examined live and dead specimens and noticed several interesting
facts: Each had a small circular incision on its
back Each was missing its liver
None had any other bite or scratch marks This last was especially significant, since
it proved that neither rats nor raccoons were attacking the toads. Of particular note, however, was the size
of the circular incision, which matched the size of a bird’s beak. Knowing how clever crows are, Dr. Mutschmann
theorized the birds were aware that the toad’s skin was poisonous, but that the nutritious
liver could easily be popped out with little toxic exposure. His theory also explained how the toads’
exploding reaction appeared to come well after they lost their livers. Since it was mating season, the toads would
have been so distracted by their biological imperative that they wouldn’t have paid
heed to a few quick pecks: Only once the liver is gone does the toad
realize it’s been attacked. It puffs itself up as a natural defence mechanism. But since it doesn’t have a diaphragm or
ribs, without the liver there is nothing to hold the rest of its organs in. The lungs stretch out of all proportion and
rip; the rest of the organs simply expel themselves. After Dr. Mutschmann’s explanation came
to light, besides being confirmed, it was soon discovered that exploding toad epidemics
have happened before in Germany and Denmark as well as in Belgium and the U.S.


  • Reply Your Wrong January 13, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    They were testing the drugs they needed to turn the frogs gay!

  • Reply Nathan S January 13, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Damn nature you scary

  • Reply MinatoSpeed January 13, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Bro thia title sounds like a naruto episode

  • Reply Dave Pawson January 13, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    The black crows are selling parts on the black market.

  • Reply Ahmed Shaharyar Ejaz January 13, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    The Catachan Barking Toads have reached Holy Terra!!!!!

  • Reply Shiraori January 13, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    A murder of crows murders? Who would have guessed?

  • Reply D4md Cykey January 13, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    The 'life has no meaning bro' meme cracked me the hell up….well done.

  • Reply PorkPieDodger January 13, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Dude seriously, can you chill on the subtitles? A ton of extra detail flickering by while the presenter is saying something completely different really comes across as unprofessional.

    I'm glad you don't just paste the script in wholesale anymore though. I like this channel.

  • Reply Steven Conroy January 13, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Damn crows r pretty smart

  • Reply Umberto Fournier January 13, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    o wow

  • Reply Number Eight or Nine? January 13, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Reason they're called a murder.

  • Reply scott boysen January 13, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Islam ? for frogs! ?

  • Reply SemiPro Student January 13, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Crows are devious. If they were a little bigger or more numerous we'd be at war

  • Reply landfair123 January 13, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    I have actually seen this when I had a big pond in California. It attracted lots of toads.

  • Reply landfair123 January 13, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Goblin toad grenade.

  • Reply Matt Bates January 13, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    So. Messed up

  • Reply Orion The Raptor January 13, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Fill em with gun powder and toss them and you have a cheap hand grenade

  • Reply Shawn January 13, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Crows are savage.

  • Reply First Name January 13, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Kekistani population explosion

  • Reply Joe Potts January 14, 2019 at 12:09 am

    A literal exploding toad epidemic.. i thought you meant 'explosing toad epidemic' as in a LOT of breeding…

  • Reply Pining for the fjords January 14, 2019 at 12:10 am

    I think the toads Kermitted suicide.

  • Reply VICIOUSVICTOR TEE January 14, 2019 at 12:21 am


  • Reply WiredPyro January 14, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Crows are so hardcore

  • Reply Pamela Mays January 14, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Sounds like a plot to a low budget horror movie.

  • Reply m marie January 14, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Where did the phrase " what in tarnation" come from? What is a tarnation?

  • Reply SS Robs January 14, 2019 at 1:09 am

    Relax guys, it's just Explosion. Yeah, Water Pokemon usually don't know moves like that but it's not unheard of either.

  • Reply qwyzl January 14, 2019 at 1:10 am

    well —  that was.. different.

  • Reply kirby march barcena January 14, 2019 at 1:13 am

    Another frog explosion technique from the Naruto series??!

  • Reply DerSonntagsHeld January 14, 2019 at 1:21 am

    a murder of crows actually murders some…thing …

  • Reply Papulu, PS fuck google+ January 14, 2019 at 1:24 am

    So, we have Catachan barking toads in real life now. By the Emperor.

  • Reply acepilot1 January 14, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Could the crows have done it for fun? I watched crows instigate fights between other species seemingly just to watch the carnage

  • Reply The Original Gamer January 14, 2019 at 1:38 am

    A business of ferrets and the systematic massacre of rats in NYC in the 1800's.

  • Reply Elizabeth Grace January 14, 2019 at 1:49 am

    I love this channel but I have to unsub… my ptsd was set off by the fuckin' FROG LEAKING IT'S ENTRAILS and description of how it continued to struggle and suffer. I'm not here to tell you how to science or how to youtube but please in future, consider a content warning in the description for stuff like this. I'll miss you. <3

  • Reply Taylor West January 14, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Mr. Toad went on a short but wild ride.

  • Reply Sonja Johnson January 14, 2019 at 2:00 am

    I won't deny it, I screamed in horror when you showed the first dead frog and described the death throes.
    Horrible – somehow fascinating but horrible!

  • Reply Bill Schlafly January 14, 2019 at 2:21 am

    "It baffled scientists" Settle down anti-science people. They figured it out after…and you might not completely understand this part…they investigated the evidence.

  • Reply Andrew Morris January 14, 2019 at 2:45 am

    Is it bad I want to know how to take out toads livers now?

  • Reply Gitami January 14, 2019 at 3:09 am

    SCP crows eliminating the competitions in preparation to fight for the crown when we're gone.

  • Reply KYoss68 January 14, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Why are we not using the Aerospike rocket engine?

  • Reply Abbygale420 Guin January 14, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Mommy, look at the froggy………BOOM!!!

  • Reply BariumCobaltNitrog3n January 14, 2019 at 3:38 am

    Murder haha! mass nouns

  • Reply Amber Annette January 14, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Love the videoes. How do people on Mackinac Island year long live?

  • Reply DxBlack January 14, 2019 at 3:49 am


  • Reply mr.big January 14, 2019 at 3:59 am

    Jeez, come on crows, that's just cruel.

  • Reply why do anything January 14, 2019 at 4:23 am

    Great now I'm gonna fall asleep dreaming about toad explosions

  • Reply ndogg20 January 14, 2019 at 4:26 am

    This also would explain the Exploding Drummer Syndrome (EDS) in such bands as Spinal Tap and The Who.

  • Reply Jack January 14, 2019 at 4:43 am

    That was horrific, but a nice object lesson for the airheads who think nature is all flowers and fluffy bunnies, and everything "natural" is wonderful.

  • Reply Jack January 14, 2019 at 4:52 am

    Today I found out that crows are dicks to frogs.

  • Reply ikkedansk January 14, 2019 at 5:17 am

    this is Diablo 3 inspiration i'm sure

  • Reply Sficlassic January 14, 2019 at 5:21 am

    Can you tell us where the phrase….Screwed the pooch came from ?

  • Reply dmndsol January 14, 2019 at 6:08 am


  • Reply Juan Guevara January 14, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Why arent people talking about whats going on in france with the protest?

  • Reply CurryKingWurst January 14, 2019 at 6:35 am

    I knew that crows are very smart, but I didn't knew they were THAT smart.

  • Reply promontorium January 14, 2019 at 6:39 am

    I observed my fire belly frogs go through a full reproduction cycle laying eggs, some fertilized, some not, and all the stages from there. Each new stage I would read up about their challenges, what could kill them. One problem which isn't quite understood is that they can develop a large bubble in their body as they transition from gills to lungs. The bubble can kill them in several ways including immobilization leading to starvation, or if the bubble expands too much, crushing their insides or exploding and killing them. I lost some from it, though never a full exposion.

  • Reply coolnegative January 14, 2019 at 7:19 am

    reminds me of the birds that were exploding in mid air.

  • Reply mjncad January 14, 2019 at 7:58 am

    A toad 'splode.

  • Reply ⦅orpseてhief derSadist January 14, 2019 at 8:02 am

    allahu croakbar!

  • Reply availablehage January 14, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Subtitles are different from the video..Like it has got things about ants..Besides explained in a haste

  • Reply MrEnKaye January 14, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Crows: they did surgery on a toad

  • Reply MaximumNewbage January 14, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Dang. Getting their liver eaten out while still alive. Brutal. How did they not die from blood toxicity? Isn't that what livers are supposed to regulate?

  • Reply fanOmry January 14, 2019 at 11:12 am


    This is what Crows Do to the Toads..

    And Vegans bug us..

  • Reply Vikram Krishnan January 14, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Were the crows partial to fava beans and a nice chianti

  • Reply Bronana Rival January 14, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    crows are savages

  • Reply Giffy January 14, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Holy Shit! The crows are performing illegal surgery and steeling organs from other creatures. It's more than a coincidence that a group of crows is called a murder.

  • Reply moumous January 14, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Wtf! But the explanation was given too fast… like it is normal that crows discover how to do surgery on toads, discover which organ is non-poisonous, actually remove the liver from a living jumping animal…. you just dismissed all of this as if it were normal for crows to discover it

  • Reply shadowmihaiu January 14, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    You hit interesting, disgusting and horrific all in one short presentation. Perhaps you should write horror movie scripts…

  • Reply Johnny Clifford January 14, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Really interesting as ever. But please get rid of the annoying background music!

  • Reply Way Child January 14, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Oh my Lord …. Too funny!
    I knew Crows were smart, but damn!!

  • Reply robert forsythe January 14, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Killer whales will grab a penguin ? shake it and open its abdominal and just eat the liver. Leave the rest on the surface while sea gulls and fish consume the rest. Humans are not the only ones who abuse things.

  • Reply W S January 14, 2019 at 5:29 pm


  • Reply Seraephus January 14, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Crafty-ass crows.

  • Reply tiggytiger11 January 14, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Here comes the nightmare where a giant crow steals my liver again.

  • Reply djb January 14, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Oh. My. God.

  • Reply Elizabeth Tore January 14, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Okay I knew crow's are smart. But REALLY that they figured out how to get the liver, well it's scary.
    We need to watch out if crow's and octopuses become friends???? ?

  • Reply sleepy Boi January 14, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you for this interesting video, I guess? I like this channel. The topics are odd.

  • Reply ricecristi January 14, 2019 at 10:16 pm


  • Reply Mrs.Man January 14, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Giving them alkaseltser has the same effect

  • Reply redlandz1977 January 14, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    So these toads… crow-ked?

  • Reply balamstudios January 14, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    How much is a yard in bananas? or better, in METRICS

  • Reply Mitchell Bast January 14, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Great Name for a band,
    "Exploding Toads"

  • Reply DrRocketman 779 January 15, 2019 at 2:11 am

    Subtitles were out of control, blipping by faster than I could read

  • Reply Elliander Eldridge January 15, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Just wait until the crows learn how to weaponize these exploding toads. I mean, if they are smart enough to bypass poison in this way, they should be smart enough to learn how their actions lead to explosions and then how to intentionally trigger it. Just think: crows dropping living bombs on their enemies.

  • Reply Christian Haimet January 15, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    goddamn, crows are fucked

  • Reply just the tip? band January 16, 2019 at 3:08 am

    spontaneous toad explosions interesting. do spontaneous human combustion ?

  • Reply Ayman Abid January 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    They realized that the water turned them gay

  • Reply ELITE SUPREMACY January 16, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    00:38 yes, show us the dead toad…. that's exactly what we want to see while we eat food…. thanks for the warning you bald fuck…. smh…. im telling steve jobs you've been stealing his haircut…

  • Reply Stuart K. Seels January 17, 2019 at 1:44 am

  • Reply Emmett Turner January 17, 2019 at 1:48 am

    Years ago my brother saw crows in Newnan, GA doing something strange on the sidewalk outside his apartment building. When he walked out of the building one swooped down to the sidewalk in front of him, and jabbed its beak under the skull of a small chipmunk, removing ONLY the brain and then flying off. The other crows had been at it a while so there were several more dead chipmunks around with holes in the base of the skull. He took pictures and made a “Damn, nature! You scary.” thread on Anandtech forums.

    What this tells me is that it is not exclusively an avoidance behavior for poisonous animals with tasty and safe morsels inside. It’s well known that crows learn behaviors from each other and continue doing them generations later without even knowing why, like the experiments where they would recognize a human with a particular mask and harass him based on something a person with the mask did to a previous generation.

  • Reply Big Boi Productions January 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Terrorists toads

  • Reply arescue January 22, 2019 at 4:39 am

    Poor toads

  • Reply Big Boi Productions January 30, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    They are terrorist toads

  • Reply mellowtime223 January 31, 2019 at 8:59 am

    goddamn crafty fucking birds…. hope they dont watch Hitchcock

  • Reply Coffieman5150 February 6, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Horrible way to die. poor things.

  • Reply Linfamy February 15, 2019 at 1:03 am


  • Reply Seige Drakonera March 13, 2019 at 8:44 am

    How did the crows learn this in the first place though?

  • Reply DasAntiNaziBroetchen March 14, 2019 at 12:58 am

    "Frogs explode cuz of incisions by crows. Thanks for watching."
    Wtf? A little more information please? lmao

  • Reply west-art April 10, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Next time crows became a higher intelligence

  • Reply Ruadhán 1334 May 2, 2019 at 3:12 am

    Someone please tell me that I'm not the only old man who remembered reading Berkley Breathed's story "The Great LaRouche Toad-Frog Massacre" when watching this.

  • Reply The_CozmicRay874 September 27, 2019 at 12:58 am

    holy shit, birbs are scary man

  • Reply take a shit November 22, 2019 at 1:47 am

    Owow Johny sins

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