A WILDLIFE group has been hopping into action in bid to save hundreds of toads from stepping into the path of oncoming traffic.
Members of the South Derbyshire local wildlife group have been out in force on busy roads in Bretby, as well as Foremarke and Shortheath, Moira, where toads are known to migrate from the woodlands to nearby ponds during mating season.
Kevin Banton, chairman of the group, said: “It is basically anywhere where they move from the woodlands to the ponds but unfortunately some of those crossings are across busy roads.
“Toads are a declining species so we try and do anything we can to help. Even if it is getting one female across the roads that is thousands of new toads.”
The volunteers have been out for a few hours each night for the past two weeks in a bid to help their amphibian friends safely cross the roads.
They estimate they have helped 200 toads cross the road during this period by using designated ‘toad signs’ to warn motorists
Mr Banton said: “As we are on particularly busy roads, we have flashing signs up warning people, and we find that most motorists are careful and some even stop and talk to us and find out what we are doing.”
Over the weekend, seven volunteers managed to ensure around 50 toads reached their end destination - a number made larger due to the recent warmer weather.
“It is all dependent on weather. If it is below 8C at dusk they won’t come out,” Mr Banton said, “It is worse (for us) if it is on the brink of cold or warm weather as some go across and others don’t.
“One of our members, Bob Baker, goes out most days and sees if there is any movement.
“The last few nights have been a lot warmer so we have picked up about 200 this time.
Anyone who would like to save the life of a toad next year is invited to join the group by phoning Kevin Banton on 01283 216430.
Toads: The facts:
Common toads are very particular about where they breed and often migrate back to their ancestral ponds each year.
They follow the same route, regardless of what gets in their way, which sometimes leads to them crossing roads.
In 2013, 80,923 toads were helped to cross the road safely in the UK – an increase of 10,000 from the year before. Unfortunately, 7,327 toads were killed at manned toad crossings.
Toads tend to start moving at dusk and carry on into the night, usually in warm weather.
You cannot get warts from a toad.