Toads on roads helped with new signs

Published
03.03.2016

Each year local volunteers help around 5,000 toads cross our county's roads

With 24 official toad crossings around the county, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and their volunteers go out on 'toad patrols' at dusk between February and April.

Toads move on mass in their hundreds if not thousands, usually within a week, to their ancestral breeding ponds. They migrate along the same route every year, no matter what stands in their way.  This can often lead to them crossing busy roads, and since they do it at dusk their journey clashes with rush hour.

Volunteers patrol the pavements and verges to find toads. They record the numbers found then carry them across the road in buckets to release them safely on the other side.

This year, the county council has provided new signage for the volunteers to install to help in their bid to make sure the toads have a safe journey.

Ellen Winter, community officer at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust said, "Searching for a mate, many toads have their 12 year lifespan cut brutally short by traffic on roads built across the routes to their breeding ponds. Your local area probably has at least one toad crossing and we need more patrollers to spare their help for a few hours."

Patroller Nicola Simpson said, "I started patrolling the Ruscombe crossing last year and really enjoyed it. It's not often you get the chance to get up close to wildlife, whilst also helping with their conservation. It was great to see so many local residents in Ruscombe getting involved in patrolling, slowing their cars down when they saw you or just saying well done as they passed by. Last year we saved over 100 toads from getting run over on the road, many more frogs and also a few newts. There is a real community spirit with toad patrolling; it's a great activity to get involved in."

Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways said, "Toad crossings are one example of the more unusual ways we work with local charities and community groups to keep our county moving. Follow @GlosRoads to find out what we're working on, and look out for the hashtag #highways365 to see how crews are busy 365 days year."

Volunteers are needed to help local 'toads on roads' patrols. Residents can put their name forward by emailing glos.toads@gmail.com.

All you need for patrolling are warm clothes, something reflective, a bucket and a torch. You can take part as little or as often as you like.

Last year more than 100 volunteer toad patrollers from all walks of life headed out on mild evenings between February and April to save toads that were migrating to the ponds where they were born

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