Toads on the move

24 February 2017 | Posted in Wildlife Garden , amphibian
Toads on the move
Common toad / Dave Kilbey

By Charlotte Owen

The snowdrops are out and the birds are singing - spring is definitely on its way. We're starting to receive sightings of toads on the move as they begin their great spring migration. Toads spend the majority of their lives on land: under rocks, in compost heaps and in vegetable patches. But, like all amphibians, they must return to water to breed.

Every spring, thousands of toads leave their over-wintering sites and begin the long crawl back to their birthplace to try and reproduce. Migration can occur at any time between January and April but toads most commonly emerge at dusk after a spell of damp, mild weather. They are creatures of habit and will travel along the same migration routes every year, covering distances of up to two kilometres. But there's a problem - over time, these ancient migration routes have been obstructed by roads, housing estates and garden fences. Toads migrate at night and nothing will get in the way of their amorous intentions, even busy roads - it's estimated that a staggering twenty tonnes of toad are run over each year by cars that don't see them until it's too late.

Death on the roads, along with the loss of breeding ponds, is having a significant impact on the UK toad population, which has declined by 68% in the last 30 years. To help combat this, the charity Froglife set up the Toads on Roads project, which registers toad migratory crossings, puts up road signs to warn traffic and coordinates local volunteers to patrol the sites and help the toads cross the road safely. Click here to find your nearest toad crossing via the Froglife website. If you know of a crossing that hasn't yet got a toad patrol, please register it on the Toads on Roads website so that road signs can be displayed and volunteers can be mustered.

Please send in your toad sightings by filling in our species recording form or contacting our WildCall Officer.


  • Colin Bambury:

    28 Feb 2017 14:44:11

    Toads are already returning to my garden pond in Seaford and are mating.

  • Brent Smithers:

    28 Feb 2017 17:21:38

    We have 3 ponds in our garden, 1 in particular gets large quantities of frog spawn which is most welcome, but no toad spawn. We would like to introduce toads to our large garden and would value any advice re obtaining spawn, tadpoles or perhaps not a good idea. We also have good numbers of common and palemate newts. Any advice gratefully receivd.
    Kind regards Brent. (Brent Smithers)

  • Dawn Leppard:

    28 Feb 2017 20:33:45

    28/2/2017 frogspawn on main pond ,toads arriving.
    2Canada geese arrived last week keep flying off then have returned several times believe they are the same pair from last year hope they will use the island for breeding.

  • 02 Mar 2017 13:17:50

    I have been on toad patrol several times this year, walking up and down with a bucket and a torch. I’ve enjoyed the guardian role, helping them cross the road, and it’s quite pleasant being out as the sun goes down, hearing the last bird songs before nightfall and the owls starting their hunting rounds. If you’re thinking of doing it get in touch with Froglife who coordinate.

  • Elizabeth Hindson:

    13 Mar 2017 10:55:54

    I would like to thank the people who help the toads to cross the roads safely. More toads for us to enjoy in the future. Elizabeth Hindson

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