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Why did the Western leopard toad cross the road?

- Amphibians, Conservation, Animals, Blog
Why did the Western leopard toad cross the road?

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

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 special 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.

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.

A female Western leopard toad that was killed while crossing the road.

Hot spot areas (where Western leopard toads are commonly seen crossing roads) include Kirstenhof, Lakeside, Muizenberg, Norfolk Park, Orchard Village, Tokai and Zwaanswyk Roads in Constantia, Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei, Grassy Park, and Noordhoek.

Western leopard toad coordinators 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).

If you come across a toad on the road:

  • Where safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road.
  • Move the toads across the road.
  • The toads should be moved in the direction which they are facing.

Volunteers are needed in various areas to help patrol the roads at night and to move toads across the roads to safety. If you are keen to help or would like to ask more questions, reach out to the Western leopard toad coordinators.

Western Leopard Toad Coordinators:

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

Go to: Learn more about the Western leopard toad!
Why did the Western leopard toad cross the road?

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