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Concern for Cambridge's late-waking amphibians


By Ben Comber


Curious Toad by Daniel West, age 10 - 1st place in Cambridge Camera Club Young Photographerss Exhibition
Curious Toad by Daniel West, age 10 - 1st place in Cambridge Camera Club Young Photographerss Exhibition

Cold weather leaves toads in their holes

Toad ladder being installed by Cambridge & Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group
Toad ladder being installed by Cambridge & Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group

The unpredictable weather of recent weeks has not only caused problems for us humans, but there is also concern about the effects it has had on Cambridge’s toad, frog and newt populations.

Usually at this time of year, the local toad patrols would report seeing hundreds of toads migrating to spawning grounds, but that’s not happened – just a couple of dozen have been seen.

The amphibians, which rely entirely on environmental cues to know when to awake from hibernation, have been knocked off course by the changeable weather and conservationists are concerned.

Steven Allain, chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group, said: “We haven’t seen the mass emergence and migration as we usually see which is quite concerning and puzzling.

“Because of the cold start to the year, everything is going quite slowly. The toads aren’t moving as quickly as they were in recent years.”

Steven and other volunteers will make regular patrols to ensure that toads are able to migrate to spawning grounds, giving them assistance as they make trecherous journeys across busy roads.

He has also installed a number of toad ladders in drains. Without the ladders toads can get stuck in the drains and starve.

“Usually the population will bounce back,” he said, “but we won’t know for a couple of years.”

Find more information or assist in a patrol online.



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