Volunteers wanted to help with plucky toad migration in East Sussex

Common Toad by David Ball
Common Toad by David Ball

It might not be as famous as elephants migrating across Africa, but Sussex is about to see its own fascinating animal migration take place.

Toads will start to emerge from January to April, usually after a spell of damp and warm weather, to travel to their breeding sites.

Nothing stands in the way of these amorous amphibians, which have a one track mind when it comes to creating the next generation – even dicing with death while crossing roads and railways won’t put them off.

As a result Sussex Wildlife Trust is appealing for volunteer toad patrollers to help out at key sites, including Uckfield, Golden Cross near Hailsham, South Chailey, and Litlington near Alfriston.

Sadly, every year scores of toads are killed by cars as they cross roads to follow traditional migration routes.

Combined with the loss of good breeding ponds, this is having a significant impact on the number of toads in the UK.

Sussex Wildlife Trust conservation officer Jess Price, 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.”

Toads return to the same breeding grounds every year. The female can reach up to 13cm in length, while the male toad can grow to 8cm.

They live in fields, hedgerows, gardens and woodlands throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

Sussex Wildlife Trust is keen to find out about any new toad crossings which have not been registered yet, as this is where most deaths occur.

To find out about becoming a volunteer toad patroller at key sites in Sussex, contact Jess, who runs Sussex Wildlife Trust wildlife information service WildCall’ by email wildcall@sussexwt.org.uk or call 01273 494777.