With the warmer spell in the middle of the rains, we are now on high alert for the upcoming Western Leopard Toad breeding time. They are an endangered species and have what is known as “an explosive” breeding time. This means that they only breed for 5-10 days of the year, and move down to wetlands and suitable ponds from a radius of about 3 km. Leopard Toads cross busy roads at night in their rush to breeding ponds. This puts them in great danger of being run-over. Please be extra careful of Toads on Roads when driving in Lakeside, Fish Hoek and Clovelly in proximity to the Silvermine River, in Sunvalley near the sportsfields, on Ou Kaapse Weg near the Silvermine Retirement Village and in Noordhoek. Once the toads have bred, they must cross the roads again to return to their habitat. They are territorial and tend to return to the same area, which may be your garden!
The areas in which they breed can be a fascinating place to visit at night, as the males call in a very loud “snoring” or purring call. It sounds rather like a Harley Davidson motor cycle!
Please be especially observant on rainy nights with a bright moon, which is when the toads are on the move. Roads that are particularly used by the toads will have special signs up and volunteers rescuing toads off the roads will be have specially marked cars and will be wearing reflective gear. If you see a toad on the road, just get out of your car (making sure it is safe to do so) and move it onto the side of the road in the direction it is going (they are not at all slimy!). Some of the males will already be on the females’ backs and so their progress is low.
There is a lot of research being undertaken on this endangered but charismatic species which we are privileged to have in our valley. Please be aware of them and contact the following people if you need further information or TO REPORT HIGH LEVELS OF TOAD ON ROAD ACTIVITY.
Noordhoek, Sun Valley and Kommetjie area: Suzie: 082 476 1016
Fish Hoek: Evanne: 021 782 6144/ 084 711 5413
Or Report Toad sightings to THE WESTERN LEOPARD TOAD HOTLINE: 082 516 3602
Thanks so much
Toad stats, so far, for the 2010 season.
We are about half way through the 2010 WLT breeding season. The statistics to date have been revealing . Noordhoek has had 352 toad records, whereas in all the other suburbs on the south peninsula COMBINED we have had 14 toad records. These numbers are far worse than anyone realised.
Suburbs which recorded such shockingly low toad numbers include: Fish Hoek, Sun Valley, Kommetjie, Glencairn and Clovelly. But we have not given up hope yet as Wally Petersen of Kommetjie said, “I am still hopeful that something might happen”. Perhaps the toads in these suburbs are waiting for the August moon. So please be vigilant especially on rainy nights.
Noordhoek’s success over the past 4 years can be attributed, amongst other things, to the following interventions:
· New ponds have been built and are now breeding successfully;
· Road patrols during breeding season;
· Removal of alien threats such as carp and mallard ducks
· On-going education of residents and children
· Assistance during toadlets emergence to get these little guys over the roads and out of swimming pools.