6:50pm Monday 14th January 2013
By Kimberly Middleton
Mating toads will be travelling through tunnels as well as by bucket this spring.
When the amphibians come out of hibernation and head home to spawn at the start of the breeding season roads can be a deadly crossing.
But kind-hearted Sussex volunteers will be armed with buckets ready to ensure the lust-driven toads can cross safely.
Now the Sussex Amphibian and Reptile Group members also hope to bring tunnels back into use including one in Wiston.
Barry Kemp, from the group, said: “We’re also involved in toad tunnels this year.
“There is a couple that were built a number of years ago that go under the roads and so we will probably be doing some work with those as well.
“Over the years they have been neglected but there is quite a lot of research going on about amphibians and roads at the moment.”
Without human help the unrelenting amorous feelings would leave scores of the amphibians, which are declining in numbers, squashed on the roads during the mass migration which can last just days.
Mr Kemp said: “It’s pretty horrific when you come across them squashed on the roads.
“The group is aware of a few sites in Sussex where it is particularly bad on busy roads.
“We have a few groups of local residents who go out with buckets on warm, wet evenings and collect toads.”
Areas where teams work on the roads in the evening include Valley Road in Newhaven and Harland Farm in Uckfield.
Jess Price, Sussex Wildlife Trust conservation officer, said: “Maybe toads aren’t as impressive as stampeding wildebeest moving across the Serengeti, but for me the mass migration of toads is a wonderful sight.”
Migration happens anytime between January and April, toads usually emerge at night after a spell of damp warm weather.
To find out about becoming a volunteer toad patroller in Sussex, contact Jess, who runs Sussex Wildlife Trust wildlife information service WildCall, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273 494777.
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