Jim Rorabaugh via Reptiles of Arizona
Everybody likes Jeff. He's such a cool guy! He's always up for a good time, he knows the best bars, he offers to give people a ride home if they've had too much to drink. But lately, you've been noticing something: Everybody who leaves with Jeff ... never comes back. Now, we know what you're thinking, but surely that's crazy. This is Jeff, right? You've known the dude since kindergarten -- he's the best! He's Jeff, Jeffy, Jeffman, the Jeffreak! He's not, he couldn't be ... a monster ... could he?
That's exactly what the spadefoot toad tadpole is wondering right now.
David Pfennig via New Scientist
"Nice to eat you."
Before its graduation to frogginess, the entire existence of a spadefoot toad tadpole is a monster-next-door horror flick. By nature, they're cool and lucid little guys, subsisting on the algae they find on the bottom of a pool of water. However, their youth is spent in one small, often quickly drying puddle in the middle of a desert. They need to grow legs and a whole host of internal organs in a hurry, before the puddle dries and the sun scorches them. There's precious little time for them to grow up, and equally little food for the energy required. That's why some of the tadpoles take a look at their surroundings, say "Screw this noise," and go full horror.
They start out small, experimenting with eating a bit of meat by munching on the tiny shrimp that also occupy the pond. Within days, they graduate with honors from Carnivore College and begin their transformation from Tadpole Jekyll to Froggy Hyde. They grow much faster than their algae-chomping counterparts, and their jaws get bigger and stronger. Their digestive tracts shorten in preparation for an all-meat diet, and their tails grow more powerful. Within a week, the normal tadpoles have mutated into 'roided up monsters.