Swedish toads croak to choir song crown

The Swedish fire-bellied toad choir won the second European Bombina Song Contest on Saturday.

The fire bellied toad choir, “The Mölle tenors”, from southern Sweden took a further step toward establishing their dominance in the contest with a win to retain the crown which they claimed at the inaugural event in 2007.

The Swedish amphibians faced off the musical challenge of bombina toad choirs from Lithuania, Germany and Denmark and by Monday morning had established an unassailable lead with almost 70 percent of the votes according to the competition homepage.

“Last time we claimed 80 percent of the votes,” choir leader Claes Andrén at Nordens Ark in Bohuslän in southwestern Sweden, explaining that the toads faced a tougher field this year than in 2007.

Microphones were placed in the natural habitats of the toads in the respective countries and the toads were then left to break into song.

The entries were then uploaded onto the internet and listeners were able to cast their votes for their favourite entry – in the same way as for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

Sweden had secured 144 of the 210 votes cast by Monday morning and their success assured.

The fire-bellied toads were declared extinct in Sweden in 1960 but Claes Andrén is working within an EU project to reintroduce the species into the country’s fauna by placing eggs from Danish donors in favourable milieus.

“Now Sweden has one of Europe’s finest populations of fire-bellied toads,” he said.

Fire-bellied toads burst into song to attract females from neighbouring ponds. This weekend the “Mölle tenors” showed once again that their musical talents also stand up to international competition.

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