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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Look out for Leopard Toads on the Roads

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The Two Oceans Aquarium has appealed to all motorists to be aware of migrating leopard toads on roads, especially at night.


It is that time of the year when the endangered Western leopard toads migrate from their garden homes to various bodies of water to breed. Unfortunately, this is a perilous time for the toads as it involves crossing busy roads to reach their breeding grounds.


In August, great numbers of Western leopard toads can be seen crossing roads around the Cape peninsula. This migration is fraught with danger, as the toads have to navigate suburban roads at night and in the rain.


Already, many have lost their lives due to cars. In an interaction between a toad and a car, the toad always comes off as second best.


This month has already seen a significant number of toads moving across busy roads at night around the Cape Peninsula and sadly many, many have failed to cross the safely.


Hot spot areas include Kirstenhof, Lakeside, Muizenberg, Norfolk Park, Orchard Village, Tokai and Zwaanswyk Roads in Constantia, Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei, Grassy Park and Noordhoek.


Western Leopard Co-ordinators in these areas appeal to the public to drive slowly and look out for the toads on the roads at night (they often look like small stones in the road) and, where safe to do so, to pull over to the side of the road and move the toads across the road. The toads should be moved in the direction which they are facing.


Why is the Western Leopard Toad so special?


The Western leopard toad is endemic to the Western Cape, meaning that our province is the only place in the world where you’ll find these elusive amphibians.


They are most active from late July to September, and especially in August. When the winter rains start to fall, the toads migrate from residential areas to water for the breeding season. The males are the first to make their way to the water and when they are ready, they start calling the females with loud, snoring calls.


Western leopard toads live and breed in low-lying areas and surrounds. As urban development has taken place in these areas, the toads have moved into residential gardens, which is where they spend most of their time. That is until the winter rains start to fall, when the toads migrate from gardens to water for breeding.


The toads need your help!


This migration is fraught with danger. During the breeding season, the toads have to navigate suburban roads, a particularly perilous activity for them, especially at night and in the rain. In the fight between toad and car, the loser is always the toad.


Volunteers are needed in various areas to help patrol the roads at night and to move toads across the roads to safety.


Below are details of the Western Leopard Toad Co-ordinators:


Michelle (082-780-3955) – Kirstenhof, Lakeside, Muizenberg, Norfolk Park, Orchard Village

Philippa (082-630-0187) – Tokai, Steenberg, Constantia

Dagny (083-741-5787) – Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei, Grassy Park

Suzi (082-476-1016) – Noordhoek

Alison (082 771 6232) – Southern Peninsula

Margaret (084 415 3428) – Ottery


For more information on the Western Leopard Toad visit the Two Oceans Aquarium website.


RELATED: “Toad tunnels” installed to help protect the Western Leopard Toad


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