The Surinam toad might be the weirdest animal ever. Picture “roadkill frog” and you’re on the right track. Not only is the toad unusually flat (to blend in with leaves on the pond floor), but it has crazy gymnast sex and then squirts its babies out of its back like teeny spaceships (if you’re over 14) or exploding zits (if you’re 14 and enjoy thinking about zits). Wanna see? Warning: This puts the “graphic” in National Geographic.


National Geographic

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

EWWWW. Let’s get back to their Kama Sutra sex:

[The Surinam toad has] what herpetologist David Cannatella of the University of Texas calls “acrobatic” mating interactions.

When two Surinam toads love each other very much, the male grasps the female in what’s known as amplexus. “He’s holding on while she is swimming around and often she’s doing somersaults, not just sitting there on the bottom,” said Cannatella …

As they somersault, the female extrudes eggs one at a time, which the male fertilizes. These land on the female’s back, where the skin “continues to get thicker and grows up around the egg, so essentially the egg is now embedded in this skin.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Then when the baby frogs are ready, they squirt out. GROSS. (Technically, the toads don’t do this to creep us out but to keep their eggs safe from predators that might eat them.) Here’s the whole video for the extra-brave:

Makes you glad to be a human, doesn’t it?

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.