Mutated Toads or Just Amplexus? - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Mutated Toads or Just Amplexus?

Discovery made near natural gas well



    Mutated Toads or Just Amplexus?
    Andrew Tanielian

    by Bruce Felps

    Casimira Rhea, who lives on unincorporated land on the outskirts of Argyle, recently made a startling discovery.

    She ventured out to her pool — which she described as looking like a brackish pond because travel and an illness in the family delayed its cleaning — and found a toad in the water. A closer inspection showed that the toad was really two toads in one.

    They apparently were born mutated, one on top of the other, joined at about the front legs.

    A few days later, Rhea found another conjoined pair, then another, bringing the total to six toads occupying the horizontal space of three.

    She wondered aloud to her husband if maybe something were in the water, not the chlorine and such that keeps the pool nice and clear — the Rheas hadn’t had a chance to shock the pool in months, but … hello, a natural gas well sits about 300 yards from the house on top of the Barnett Shale.

    These might just be some fracked up toads.

    Opponents of fracking — hydraulic fracturing used to extract natural gas — claim the practice releases pollutants into the environment, and these toads might — might, mind you — provide local proof.

    In the meantime, Rhea said, the little amphibians cooperate, swim in a synchronized motion, swing around so each can eat, and we didn’t get into the toads’ other bodily functions, so whew.

    Or, are they just frisky toads? 

    On further review, it might just be a case of "amplexus," which is toad for "doing the amphibian wild thing."

    Bruce Felps owns and operatesEast Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He’s not exactly a tree-hugger but they are good friends.