Amorous toads need help to cross the road

Can you volunteer for the annual toad crossing patrol?
Can you volunteer for the annual toad crossing patrol?

Volunteers are needed to help hundreds of amorous amphibians safely cross a road near Sleaford to reach their annual breeding ground.

The White Cross Lane Volunteer Group has been helping toads on their annual migration - with thousands being escorted across the lane since the group was set up in 2013.

There has been a 68 per cent decline in common toads in recent years - and the group is working hard to slow the decline in Lincolnshire.

Group founder Fiona Cousland said: “We usually help around 3-4,000 toads each year, including frogs and common frogs.

“Toads mostly settle around 12m from their spawning grounds. This is why it is so important the immediate radius of a spawning ground is left undisturbed. Our lane has woodland on one side and breeding ponds the other. Most toads settle in or around the woodland area. On migration they move from here to the ponds.”

After spotting a female, the male toad hops aboard to be ‘piggybacked’ to the breeding pools. She has to carry him up to 4km from the hibernation sites to the spawning ponds.

Fiona added: “Environmental cues, temperature, the length of day and rain all trigger them to migrate. Their navigation is incredible as toads are able to orientate themselves to the Earth’s magnetic field. We have found that, usually in about the middle of migration, on a warm clear, damp night with a full moon the numbers of toads crossing is phenomenal. One year we crossed over 900 from 7pm to after midnight.”

The group is hosting a meeting on Saturday to recruit more volunteers to help reduce the number of toads squashed by traffic during the migration. The meeting takes place at 10.30am, in the Four Seasons Garden Centre, London Road, Silk Willoughby.