Volunteers rescue hundreds of toads rescued crossing busy roads in North Somerset

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Volunteers say this could be the best ever year for migrating toads - which risk their lives crossing busy roads across the West Country.

This is the time of year toads travel quite some distance to mate. They use the same routes every year - regardless of what may be in their way.

Across the West Country a network of toad patrols have been taking place to protect the amphibians from getting squashed.

Rob Harvey, Pill toad patrol coordinator, said: "It's been a bad year for us but it has been a pretty good year for toads, there's been less traffic on our roads, fewer dangers for them."

"We've had 600 that we've counted but we haven't counted everything, but I am hoping there's around 800 or 1,000 in that pond right now."

Some of the busier nights can see volunteers rescue hundreds of toads from the roadside Credit: Pill Toad Patrol

Every year the common toads will travel miles to migrant back to their ancestral breeding ponds.

This does mean hundreds toads get killed or injured on the roads as they struggle to get across or are too small to climb up the curb.

Pill Toad Patrol, along with Clevedon and Portishead, is a handful of many networks across the West Country who rescue toads and other amphibians and report their findings back to wildlife charity Froglife.

During the mating season, which runs from late January to early April, volunteers go out every evening at dusk at known ‘migratory crossings’ to help the amphibians cross the roads.

The groups also actively campaign for better protection for the vulnerable species, and drivers will now see extra warning signs on the B3124 between Clevedon and Portishead.

The toads thrive in damp conditions which means volunteers going out in the rain and in the dark.

Froglife has already seen the benefit of the lockdown on the numbers of toads in 2020.

In 2019 across the UK 13,553 toads were killed on our roads, that number was almost halves during 2020 when 7,251 were killed.

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