Mysterious red balls at base of boxwood

Q: Could you please identify these mysterious red “ balls” growing on the ground at the base of our boxwood. I am hesitant to handle or remove them without knowing what they are and if they are toxic or otherwise dangerous.

My husband poked the largest red mass with a piece of rebar this morning. It is totally creepy. He said the mass is “ firm” but not “rigidly solid”. I am totally freaked out about this. I have severe allergies to molds, prescription medicines, and chemicals in general, which is why my husband poked the mass with me photographing it and wearing a mask.

Response 2: I am embarrassed to report that our mystery mass turned out to be a very old dog toy! On the other hand, I am so relieved it is not a fungus!

A: I love when a person solves their own mystery with minimal help from me!

All I said in my first reply was “They don’t look natural to me. Can you poke one with a stick and send pix?”.

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