Hop to it - volunteers needed to help frogs and toads
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Nature lovers are being sought to help a crossing patrol with a difference on a busy Suffolk road.
Volunteers are needed to help conservationists caring for frogs, newts and toads crossing in Great Waldingfield, near Sudbury.
Every year at this time, the amphibians return to the pond at Great Waldingfield Primary School to spawn but they have to cross busy Folly Road to get there.
Naturalist George Millins and a handful of volunteers patrol the road for several hours each evening, as the frogs and newts like to cross under cover of darkness.
Their aim is to pick the amphibians up and carry them across to avoid them getting squashed by traffic.
Mr Millins said: "If we are to save our amphibian population more reliable patrollers are desperately needed.
"There is about 700 metres of road, including three side roads to cover, and it is impossible to prevent road kill with just one or two people patrolling.
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"We need more people, even if they can only commit to a few hours one evening a week."
The stretch of Folly Road is a designated Toad Crossing with the crossing season typically taking place from mid-February to mid-April.
The frogs move after dark to avoid predators and when they reach the pond the females will release the frog spawn in the water.
However in recent years new housing developments and more traffic has seen their numbers dwindle.
Mr Millins said: "The total number of amphibians recorded last spring was only 39 frogs and about six smooth newts. About five years ago, we would have recorded more than this in one evening.
"The decline in our amphibians is very severe to the point that there is a real danger of local extinction. This means that every amphibian is precious and helping them across the road more is urgent than ever."
Mr Millins is out most evenings, torch and bucket in hand, patrolling Folly Road at this time of year - amphibians preferring mild and damp conditions - and is only too happy to pass on his knowledge of amphibian habits and life cycles to anyone who joins him.
If you would like to help - you can contact Mr Millins on 07534 263 629 or email him.