Toad Patrol - Hopping to safety and success

Toad Patrol - Hopping to safety and success

Toads start to come out of hibernation in the UK anytime from January and begin making the journey to their breeding ponds. With so much of our countryside transformed into busy roadways, toads can be at risk of being killed by passing traffic as they try and make the dangerous crossing. But the good news is, there are people all over the country who are dedicated to giving these toads the best chance of hopping to safety and success.


What is the Toad Patrol?

Frog Life is a wildlife charity who are working to protect amphibians and reptiles. One was they do this is through the Toad Patrol. The Toad Patrol is made up of groups of volunteers up and down the UK, who work to monitor stretches of roadways that are known crossing points for toads who are trying to reach their breeding ponds.


Why do toads need our help?

When toads come out of hibernation, instinct kicks in and they travel back to the pond they were spawned in, to find a mate. This journey should be trouble free but with the majority of their journey taking part as the sunsets, this also coincides with human ‘rush hour’. A little bit of help to slow traffic and give the toads the best chance of survival, increases the chance of a successful breeding season.


How do I become a part of the Toad Patrol?

Although anyone can help toads to cross a road, it is advisable to sign up with Frog Life to become an official volunteer. Working closely with a Toad Patrol manager in your area will ensure your safety as well as the success of the toads. Toad Patrols are registered with the Highways Agency, and this enables them to put out signs asking drivers to slow down to avoid accidentally injuring our amphibious friends. You may have spotted the warning triangles with a toad symbol in the middle if you’ve driven close to one of these crossing points.


What's it like at Toad Patrol?

To get an idea of what it’s like to be a part of the Toad Patrol, we spoke to volunteer, Jayne, from Gloucestershire, about how and why she first got involved.

Jayne started volunteering with Toad Patrol a decade ago. She was motivated to take direct action when she witnessed dead toads along a local road during a rainy evening walk in March.

“The British amphibian population has reduced considerably in recent years. The common toad isn't so common anymore. I couldn't face the idea of more unnecessary roadkill so grabbed a bucket and a torch and went out each evening to collect toads and see them safely to the pond. When they found out what I was doing, neighbours quickly joined in.  We have a rota so that each evening at least one person is on patrol. We check the weather and, if it's likely toads will move, arrange for extra help collecting them

We patrol from the beginning of February to the beginning of April.  The worst times are in February when sunset is around 6pm and we have most traffic. We pray for cold dry nights so the toads don't bother to move, and we can stay home.  As you can imagine, our own safety is an issue on this cold, dark lane. The amphibian expert at WWT Slimbridge donated hi vis jackets and buckets to us a few years ago, which are much appreciated.”

Taking part in a Toad Patrol means that the official data from each annual migration around the UK can be given to Frog Life who can then use that this to assess how the toad populations are doing and how we can work to help them.

As well as helping out the toads, by taking part in a Toad Patrol, you’ll be able to get out and meet other people who, like you, are passionate about creating a world where we live in harmony with wildlife. Nature needs our help, the more people are empowered to take action, the faster we can secure a future for our beautiful blue marble and every single species that calls it home.

Here at the Wildlife Community we help frogs and toads by providing them with our very own Frogilo. The perfect shelter from the hazards of modern day life.

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