Worcestershire drivers are being asked to watch out for toads crossing the roads over the next couple of weeks.
Hundreds of toads are beginning to return to their breeding grounds at this time of year and our roads make their travels fraught with danger. The toads start their journeys just after dusk and particularly after heavy rain. Staff and volunteers from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust have been tracking toad migrations and have come up with a simple way of helping them cross the road safely.
The new method involves collecting toads in buckets at the side of roads. Roadsides are lined with chicken wire and buckets dug into the ground. The toads walk along the line of the fence and fall into the buckets ñ which are then taken to the other side of the road by volunteers the following morning.
The man behind this new method is Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Water and Wetlands Officer, Jurjen Annen. He explains; ‘The traditional way of patrolling for toads involves moving them one at a time. With this new initiative, we’re able to move hundreds in one night as well as have the chance of accurately monitoring populations. That’s great news for the toad population of Worcestershire and it’s something easy that local villages and communities can do that will make a difference for wildlife.’
This year Pershore College student Harriet Windley is undertaking survey work on the collected toads. She weighs and measures each toad and compares numbers with temperatures of the ponds and climate. This might help us to better predict when and how the toads will move.
To report large toad migrations near you, or for a factsheet about setting up your own toad patrol, call Worcestershire Wildlife Trust on 01905 754919.