HELPING OUR POND LIFE AND BATS
I have registered Tollard Pond with Froglife and the Department of Transport register of amphibian migratory crossings.
Across the UK, toad numbers have plummeted for many reasons including: loss and degradation of breeding ponds, habitat destruction through intensive farming and development, isolation of toad sites; meaning that populations are more vulnerable, plus the threat of newly emerging diseases etc. As road traffic in the UK has increased there are more and more amphibian road fatalities, and thankfully there are now a number of Registered Toad Crossing Sites across the UK, with many folk going out at night to help rescue at these important sites.
Each year, toads will travel up to 1km in order to get back to their particular breeding ponds and whenever possible, over the past 30 yrs, I have rescued the Tollard toads and frogs and carried them to the pond. Sadly, during this period, the numbers of toads travelling to our village pond has declined drastically.
Whilst rescuing toads I’ve noticed that they attempt to cross the road from the meadow and woodland opposite Clap Lane (now known as Larmer Way), in order to get to the Clap Lane pond, and many are killed in the process. They also approach Clap Lane pond, from Clap Lane Coppice, and many travel from Clap Lane and the fields alongside the main road, in order to get to the Tollard village pond, and this is also where large numbers are killed enroute. As the village pond is now registered, Toad Crossing signs may be considered appropriate.
Ed: I asked Su for some general information about frogs and toads….
Depending on weather conditions, eggs will normally hatch after 2-4 weeks. Frog tadpoles are black, and toad tadpoles are speckled gold and brown, tho’ it is difficult to tell them apart from a distance. After about 16 weeks tadpoles start to grow their back legs, then the front legs, and when they have fully absorbed their tails will leave the water as froglets or toadlets, during early summer. Just to confuse the issue tho’, have recently learned that it can sometimes be as late as September- but I normally see them here in the park during early summer. They will also normally leave the water, after rainfall.
Click this LINK to take you to Froglife for further information.
Ed: Su also rescues bats and we spoke a little about her work.
I had a call from a lady who had found a bat on her driveway and thought it was dying. We met up in Shaftesbury, and the brown long-eared was extremely stiff, cold, and underweight. I eventually managed to get him to take a little rehydration drink before our journey home. A little and often…. and he is now tucked up warm and also had a couple of small meals. He has also been given anti-bio’s as he has a torn ear: which could indicate a cat attack.
Sadly, the continual cold weather over the past weeks has meant that many carers are receiving rescued bats that are severely dehydrated and underweight. By now bats should be feasting on insects each night but it has been so cold and frosty that the insects are not about. Our bats are hungry and coming out of hibernation to find there is nothing to eat. This LINK will take you to Su’s page on her website where you can see lots of photos and information about her work as well as contact details if you come across a bat in trouble.
Ed: Thank you Su for a very interesting article and for registering our ponds. We do currently have tad poles in the pond so hopefully we will be successful in increasing the local population this year.Below: a couple of photos from Su – a pair of rescued toads and the bat she rescued recently.