Toadwatch patrol, helping toads cross the road to their ancestral breeding pond, I was fortunate enough to find in my bucket the old female toad that I have helped during each of the previous two years. She is now 22 and she had started to tell me about how tasty the slugs and woodlice had been during the wet summer when a car stopped next to us. “I like to sauté frogs in white wine” said the driver. I suppose he thought it was funny to wind me up but I refrained from throwing one of the squashed bodies from the road through his window and politely explained that I was saving toads from extinction, not helping frogs who are much quicker at jumping across roads anyway. “I eat toads as well” came the reply. “More fool you then – we are poisonous” came the yell from my bucket. That shut him up and off he screeched.
My passenger, who can be blunt even by toad standards, asked what the Parish Council had done since we last met in order to reduce the number of apes driving around in cars and squashing toads. “I’ve been to lots of meetings and written lots of emails” I replied. A muffled croak told me that she was not impressed. “But when is there going to be some action?” she asked. I explained that the councils have recently passed plans to build over 1200 houses and lots of new offices and that when most of them have been built then they hope to build a cycle path so people can bike to work. There was an explosion from the bucket – “DUCKS’ BEAKS!!” she croaked angrily (toads hate ducks because they pollute the water and eat their spawn). “Surely they should build the cycle path BEFORE the people move into the houses!?”. Which is pretty much what our MP said to me yesterday – though he did not use the same expletive. He has promised to lend his weight to the argument.
When/if it warms up, please keep an eye out for toads on the roads - there is more info about how you can help toads at