Thursday, March 22, 2007

Killer, Meat-Eating Frogs Invade San Francisco

"It's like something out of a...horror movie," begins this story from SF Gate.

They ain't kidding. Here's the short version :

....killer frogs take over peaceful pond, then after terrorizing and eating everything alive, start eating each other.

But it's not a horror movie, this is actually happening in Lily Pond, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

The amphibians in question are called 'African clawed frogs' and they can grow five inches long. As their name implies, they have sharp claws curving out of their huge back feet.

It's a mystery how these vicious little brutes got into the pond in the first place. But they've wreaked terrible damage on the native frogs, turtles and fish. The fear is the frogs will get out of the pond and into the waterways of San Francisco. It hasn't happened yet. But some believe it will be only a matter of time, unless the killer frogs are wiped out.

"They've eaten everything they can get their mouths around, and now they're eating each other," said Eric Mills of the animal rights group Action for Animals.

There was a plan in 2003 by the California Department of Fish and Game to drain the pond, but this plan was abandoned after community anger over a pike-poisoning incident by the department shortly before the pond draining was supposed to begin.

....park workers have used nets and traps baited with chicken to yank about 2,500 adult frogs out of the pond. The frogs are then sent up to Fish and Game in Yountville, where they are euthanized by a special nerve poison.

But the Terminator toads just keep coming back.

"They are cute, but tough," Mills said. "I saw a heron swoop down and grab one. He had it in his bill for a while, tried to eat it, then just gave up and spit it out."

In fact, about the only thing known to eat the frogs are crocodiles -- but that solution is probably out.

For now, anyway.

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