SAN FRANCISCO -- California biologists are alarmed over the latest invasive species to take up residence in this city: African clawed frogs, which eat just about anything and tend to breed like crazy.
Even worse, they're kind of cute -- and thus more likely to be whisked away by children and dumped into other ponds, where they spread even more.
"They are a threat," said David Wake, an emeritus professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley. "They change the environment quite profoundly."
Native to Kenya, the frogs are able to live under ice, in the ground, and in salty water. They alter ecosystems by gobbling up insects, fish, lizards, and even birds that fit into their large, tongueless mouths. They also prey on the state's endangered red-legged frog. The African frogs, outlawed as pets in California several years ago, are used in medical and biological research.