Patrollers ready to save hundreds of toads on the move

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 February 2015

Toad patrollers of The Village Quarter

Toad patrollers of The Village Quarter

HUndreds of toads will be helped across the road as volunteer patrollers put on their hi-vis jackets and take to the streets of Portishead.

Later this month, hoards of toads, newts and frogs are expected to begin migrating to breeding ponds near the Village Quarter and The Vale, prompting the need for volunteers to scoop them up into buckets and prevent them being squashed on the town’s busy roads.

The Portishead Toad Patrol group has a core membership of about 15 volunteers but is looking for many more helpers to come forward and give some of their time during the migration season, which can last for about six weeks.

Common toads are very particular about where they breed and, when temperatures rise, often migrate back to their ancestral breeding grounds each year. In Portishead, this can mean having to cross a number of roads.

Three years ago the sight of increasing number of dead amphibians on the streets around the Village Quarter lead to the formation of the group. Last year some 1,500 creatures were taken to the safety of a pond near Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve.

Helen Mason, who helped to set up the patrol, said: “Each night we can be out from about 6-10pm so it would be lovely to have enough volunteers that we could work on a rota system, meaning each person would only have to do about one hour each.

“The more help we can get, the more frogs and toads will be saved.

“We also want drivers to be aware of what we are doing and to slow down to avoid squashing them.

“We will be shining torches on people’s driveways to spot them too.”

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