Road death croakdown: Hero toad team back on the Norfolk streets for another year

John Heaser, Norfolk Toadwatch co-ordinator, at the pond at Little Melton, Picture: Denise Bradley

John Heaser, Norfolk Toadwatch co-ordinator, at the pond at Little Melton, Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk patrol has returned to protect toads on the region's roads as the migration season begins and the creatures prepare for a romantic break at the pond.

Toadwatch, which started in 2004 in Bowthorpe and Little Melton, boasts 18 patrols and has already saved 1,309 toads in 2017.Cranwich, near Thetford, has rescued an eye-popping 521 toads this year.

Whilst frogs stay close by to their pond of choice, travel-seeking toads travel further afield to larger ponds which in turn puts them at high risk of being run over.

The migrating season starts in February every year, with the females arriving in March, and all the toads are bred by the beginning of April.

They usually move at dusk, approximately 30 minutes after sunset, when it is damp and above five degrees.

John Heaser, coordinator of Norfolk Toadwatch, said: 'Most people who rescue toads are not hardcore conservationists, they do it because they can't sleep at night if they don't do their best to help the toads avoid a lingering death after being hit by a car.

MORE: How did the toad cross the A134? With the help of the UK's number one toad patrollers...'Once you see an injured toad up-close you realise that it is an animal just like us and it feels pain.'

In 2015, the organisation saved over 33,000 toads which was more than half saved in the entire of the UK.

The group in Bowthorpe has now closed after housing development wiped out the population.

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Mr Heaser, 64, from Little Melton, added: 'Our records show that toads are being wiped out close to Norwich and that numbers are declining in more rural parts of Norfolk.'

Would you like to get involved in Toadwatch? See their website for more details.

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