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Caution: Toads crossing!

Have you spotted a toad or two (or more?!) out and about? If so, did you wonder what they were doing and where they were going? Spring is the time when toads often move to find mates and a place to lay their eggs, but it also makes them vulnerable to getting squashed on roads – here’s how you can help!

Toads out and about

Toads spend the winter hiding in safe locations, either in dead wood or buried in mud. Then in spring when the days start to get longer and the weather a little milder, they emerge and start to make their way to the ponds and reservoirs. 

Common toads in the UK return to the same breeding points that they’ve been coming to for generations, and tend to follow the same routes every year.

An image of a common toad with it's lumpy skin, standing in grass
The common toad – look out for these in the spring!
By Iric – Iric, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=852982

Toads on roads

Unfortunately, some of the journeys they make now have roads in the way. The toads will cross them, but obviously in a battle between a toad and a car, the toad isn’t going to win. 

That’s why the amphibian charity Froglife started the Toads on Roads project

As mentioned above, the toads follow the same route so the Toads on Roads project registers these as ‘migratory crossings’ and then coordinated groups of local people can become Toad Patrols. These Patrols can ask their local council for road warning signs which ask drivers to slow down and drive carefully to try and avoid hitting toads, and can also organise to be out and about helping toads cross these roads, though obviously you’ll need to be very careful. 

An image of a male common toad on the back of a female common toad, as part of the mating process
A male common toad on the back of a female common toad
Copyright – Bernie https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wilder_Kaiser

When do the toads start moving? 

Toads love wet weather, tend to migrate at night, and most start moving around January and can move as late as April. 

Want to see toads? 

Or give a helping hand at your local toad crossing? Froglife have a handy way of finding your local one; just pop your postcode into their toad crossing finder.

Why do they need our help? 

Toads, like other amphibians, are in rapid decline in the UK. There are many reasons for this, including habitat loss. You can help them by supporting the work of charities like Froglife, and by campaigning for better conservation of wild places, parks and wetlands. 

 

 

 

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