helping amphibians to survive

Thwaite Patrol - 2018 report

Although there is not much traffic on this road the animals are vulnerable because there are so many of them on good nights and the road is narrow. The road used to be covered in corpses after busy nights.   After a particularly horrendous year for casualties in 2007, local residents formed patrols to help save the toads, one of many such patrols in Norfolk and across the U.K.  The patrols started slowly in 2008 and 2009 then really took off in 2010.  People volunteer for a rota and go out with torches and hi-vis jackets soon after dusk on suitable evenings and simply move the creatures from the road to the verge or nearest pond. 

common toadCommon Toad In the first ten years, 2008 to 2017, we saved nearly 16,000 Common Toads, over 600 Common Frogs, 241 Common or Smooth Newts, 4 Palmate Newts and 3 Great Crested Newts.  The Palmates and Great Crested are both uncommon in Norfolk and it was exciting for the patrollers to find them for the first time in 2017.

All the amphibians prefer to move on evenings which are wet and warm, over 7°, starting about the middle of February and usually finishing about six weeks later.  2018 was a very strange year for weather over this time.  The migration started on 18th February, lasted two nights, then there was snow and ice for a week then temperatures remained too low until 9th March, a 3-week interruption.  The numbers migrating then on any one evening were very variable because the temperature was often too low but the occasional warmer evenings produced much greater numbers.

20 people volunteered this year including 4 new folk.  By the end of migration on 10th April we had saved 2,186 Common Toads, 454 Frogs, 284 Common Newts and 8 Great Crested Newts.  Despite the patrols some creatures still got killed and we removed 105 dead toads, 94 dead frogs, and 37 dead newts. 

A big thankyou to all the patrollers and all of the people driving their cars and vans around the Common who drive slowly and try to avoid slaughter.  The migration usually only lasts 5 to 6 weeks and taking care during that time is well worth it.

If you would like to know more about the toad patrols, or would think about joining the rota for next year, please contact Stephen Green on 01263 761350 or stephenclare234@btinternet.com

Stephen Green, April 2018