A perplexed team of researchers studying North Carolina's bobwhite quail population recently tracked two of its radio-tagged test subjects to the last place they expected: An animal's stomach.
Even more surprising, however, was the fact that both chicks were eaten by the same bullfrog, according to a Facebook post by Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy.
One of the bird's feet was found sticking out of the frog's mouth like a toothpick, photos show.
"This is no doubt an anomaly, but showcases that life as a quail is not easy," said the post by Tall Timbers researcher Justin Hill, of the University of Georgia.
"We have always said that anything and everything eats a quail bird. Who would've thought that a bullfrog would become a predator of quail chicks?"
The frog did not survive the ordeal, judging from autopsy photos posted by Tall Timbers researchers on Facebook.
Bobwhite quail remain a premiere game bird in the southeast and Tall Tibers Research manages 3,500 acres of its habitat in multiple states, according to the organization's website.
The strange discovery last month is just the latest example of researchers perplexed by the location of their animal transmitters.
Shark scientists with the University of Rhode Island have been puzzling for weeks over a tagged mako shark that appears to have walked ashore this month in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, reported SouthCoastToday.com on June 25.
Days later, it started transmitting off the coast of New Jersey, leading researchers to believe the shark was caught by a commercial fisherman that might still have the transmitter aboard, the newspaper reported June 27.