Reader leaps in to identify mystery orange frogs
MYSTERIOUS orange frogs found on the streets of Derby appear to have been identified.
Four of the strange little amphibians were spotted by Steve Atkin, who found the creatures in an alley behind his house in Crown Street, Derby. The 55-year-old took them home and put them in a bowl of water but had no idea what they were. One has since died.
Experts at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust were sent pictures of the frogs but could not say where they had come from.
After the Derby Telegraph ran the story, reader Stuart Whitehead, of Littleover, contacted the paper.
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He said: "These are African Clawed Frogs. They were used in schools and labs for experiments years ago and I kept a few in the 1970s."
Chris Wood, from the wildlife trust, agreed. He said: "They are definitely albino African Clawed Frogs.
"They have a curious background. Once imported from Africa, they were used in pregnancy testing before chemical tests were widely available so this species has been widely exploited over the years in laboratories.
"They are known to exist in some warmer-water environments, say next to a works discharge, but won't tolerate the cold winters.
"It's possible that some populations exist in the UK but none are known in Derbyshire – it's probably too cold."
He said the frogs were classed an invasive alien species in this country and should not be released back into the wild.
He has contacted Mr Atkin to advise him on what to do with the frogs.
Mr Wood said: "The best solution would be to find someone who would take them in. There may be an aquarium shop in Derby that would agree."