Cambridge volunteers on ‘toad patrol’ as mating season sees high numbers
An amphibian problem in Cambridge has resulted in residents setting up their annual “toad patrols” to help with the increasing problem.
A high number of toads attempting to cross roads to get to a local lake in order to mate means many of them are being hit by cars, bikes, scooters, or even pedestrians.
As such, volunteers from Barnwell have been tasked with helping the amphibians to cross safely to Barnwell Lake thanks to flashlights, buckets, and high-vis jackets.
Both Stanley Road and roads near the Leper Chapel in Britwell, Cambridge, have seen a toad problem.
The sheer number of toads is at its highest currently, as breeding takes place between February and April.
Around this time of the year, a large number of toads congregate around ponds and lakes to mate. After mating, female toads can lay up to a whopping 500 eggs, where they hatch into tadpoles before developing into adult toads.
Cambridge volunteers on toad patrol
Ways to help these toads have included road signs in the area, posters made by local schoolchildren, and a group of volunteers.
Currently, there are around 20 volunteers on a WhatsApp group, all dedicated to helping the amphibians, with others joining in to help move the toads.
Britwell resident Suzanne joined the volunteers to help save the creatures after first hearing about them in 2018.
She explained: “We plop them into the lake so that they can do their spawning.
“The toads face an obstacle of concrete and a barrier which makes it more difficult for them to get to the lake after the Chisholm Trail was built.”
Thankfully, their efforts have seen around 200 toads being saved from death compared to only 25 the previous year.
Not only are they protected from ongoing traffic, but they are also helped to reach their destination safely.
“We’re just wondering what’s going to happen this year,” Suzanne adds.