Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Day 156 - Terrific Toad Patrol

Cod Beck, Osmotherley near dusk.
Hi all today's Day 156 and as it's Spring there
has been a lot more wildlife coming out and a lot more wildlife breeding. To do this, some animals need to migrate short distances. One of these animals is the Toad. I live about 5 miles away from one of the top 10 toad migration sites. This is Cod Beck Reservoir. It's a lovely place just outside of Osmotherly in the North York Moors.

There is an active toad patrol there that I went to partake in last night. The toad patrol helps to reduce the amount of toads squashed on the road by cars. It was my first time doing it so I had to learn a couple of things like, where to put the toads, where the best place to see them crossing is and so on.
Sunset was beautiful

I haven't yet explained what Toad Patrol actually is so I have written a little fact sheet below about what it actually involves.
  • You start by going up there around dusk sort of time. You need to bring a bucket, a head torch for when it gets dark, warm clothes, gloves and a high-vis jacket.
  • You pick a stretch of land that you want to patrol (preferably somewhere where there isn't many other patrollers so you can cover a larger area) and start walking up and down it.
There were lots of toads in the reservoir -
toad patrol has already been busy.
  • If it is damp then there will be more toads and if it is warm, then there will be even more toads! Yesterday we went and at dusk it was about ten degrees which seemed to be the optimal temperature as we got quite a lot.
  • Once you find a toad pick it up very gently and place it in your bucket. Don't worry if they are in there for a long time, sometimes, if there is a male and a female in the bucket, they will pair up. Also don't worry if they make squeaking noises they are fine.
    My first find of the night
  • You don't only have to pick up toads, newts are helpful to. They add to the population count as well as the toads that you collect.
  • When you have got a lot of toads in your bucket, take it down to the body of water and deposit them one at a time or, if they are in pairs, two at a time.
  • As you are depositing them, count the amount you have. Females are quite a lot larger than males and often the males climb on the backs of females during the migration so you often get pairs migrating.
    I soon collected a few more
  • REMEMBER. If they are moving away from the body of water do NOT put them in your bucket. Move them to the side of the road that they are heading (so they don't have to do it themselves) and then leave them.
  • With every toad patrol you will have squashed toads. With these you must take them off the road, so that they don't get counted twice, and keep a total of the amount of dead ones.
    On the bank releasing the toads and this little newt!
  • Once you are ready to go home, find your lead patroller and give him/her the numbers of toads you have seen. Remember to tell them the dead ones and the ones that are coming out of the body of water. It all helps to keep a track of the toad population from year to year.
  • Also keep track of Frogs and any other Amphibians. On my Day 2 post DaveyMan gave me a good guide for telling frogs apart from toads. Frogs hop and toads walk. A frog's back is smooth whereas a toad's is bumpy.
I had a fantastic night and I saved a total of 42 Toads and 4 Palmate Newts.

I really hope to do it again soon.

Here is a link to Froglife's Toads on Roads project and another for their Find your nearest patrol for if you would like to take part.

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. This looks amazing! What brilliant finds, Zach and great photos too. - Tasha