Warning: if you're even slightly squeamish when it comes to slimy, oozing bodily fluids, this toad's totally bizarre form of childbearing is probably going to ruin your entire day. With that said, let's take a closer look at the phenomenon, which to my eyes looks more like a cut scene from the Alien franchise than a miracle of Nature.
Photo: Endeneon/Wikimedia Commons
The Surinam toad, which bears the uncharacteristically cute species name Pipa pipa, is native to the rainforests of South America, and is quite unique among amphibians for the way in which the female carries her young to term: after being fertilized, her eggs are inserted by the male into oversized pores in the skin of her back until they hatch. Yes, this poor creature's pores are clogged with her own children.
Photo: Dein Freund der Baum
Since one breeding cycle can include up to a hundred eggs, this incubation method seems seriously uncomfortable. For the next few months, the young develop under a protective second layer of skin before they finally burst out on their own like tiny xenomorphs (backbursters?).
Ready to see what that looks like? Then watch the clip below, courtesy of National Geographic:
What? Still not gross enough for you? Well then... how about this graphic video of a maggot chowing down on a living human's ear?