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Toads on the Roads!

from our own Nature and Wildlife correspondent, Sally Worby

Toads are waking from hibernation and making their way to breeding ponds. Mild damp nights are appealing to them but their paths may cross roads. Toads walk, rather than hop, and their slow progress in the dark makes them vulnerable to being run over!

Amphibians are having a torrid time everywhere and frogs and toads in the UK are declining. Habitat loss (dense undisturbed undergrowth and thick hedgerows) along with pesticide use in gardens and farmland as well as disease are impacting numbers.

Toads and frogs eat a range of invertebrates and are great aids in the garden, being happy to tuck into slugs and other pests. Garden ponds (without fish!) are great habitats for them but it's illegal to move them from one pond to another because that can spread diseases brought to the UK by the pet trade and now rife among wild amphibians.

So worried is Somerset Wildlife Trust they are encouraging us to record evidence of breeding toads and frogs. You can find more information and join in the count at

As spring approaches please watch out for our little toads crossing roads. They often travel long distances to reach the pond they were born in and, if you don't mind handling them, they may need a lift off the road over to the side they were travelling towards.

Toads have poison glands in their skins as a repellent to predators but it won't enter via human skin, nonetheless it's best to wash hands after touching.

Sally operates the Graceful Badger Forest School in Drayton Woods with Wilderwoods and Central Somerset Outdoor Learning Partnership. More info here

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