Who knows?

‘Spotted on a walk at Midford yesterday’ – says Marion McNeir – ‘4 adult toads carrying young ones on their back across the old railway track and desperately trying to squeeze – with babies – through this wire fence. One even had two babies on its back!

Where they had come from looked exactly the same sort of damp, leafy place as where they were heading. Why were they so desperate to get there? There was no sign of water – just this impossible wire mesh fence.

They couldn’t possibly squeeze through. What would they do – abandon their babies or return to the other side of the track ?

I’ve never seen this before and wondered if you might have toad specialists among your readers who could enlighten me?’

Forgive me Marion – and l am certainly not an expert – but l wonder if this isn’t the male toad paying the lady toad a visit? I think this is the time of year for such calls.

Perhaps someone can help us both with an explanation.


  1. I also think it is a male and female toad. Maybe a bit early for the babes to have reached that size! The Bath Toad Rescue group would know. Ellie Farrar

  2. That’s definitely the male(s) firmly grasping the female in an amorous embrace. Spring is in the air and a young toad’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of – um – sex. My pond is occasioanlly full of this kind of activity! As you can see, the females are much larger than the males. Toads don’t live in water, though they need to be damp. I once had one living in a planter in my garden and I used to water him (or her) from time to time. The toad seemed to look forward to it. But one day, I came into the garden to find a hungry fox had dug the toad out for his supper.

  3. I forgot to say that, although toads don’t live in water, they do need to lay their eggs in water. They would have been on the way to a pond. The website FrogLife has lots of interesting facts about them.

  4. This will be a toad couple with the male hitching a ride to their breeding pond. It is often the case during migration that amphibians become trapped by man made obstacles and need a helping hand. In 2016 Froglife (www.froglife.org) published research findings indicating a 68% decline in populations of the common toad across the UK over the past 30 years due to loss of habitat and road mortality (it is estimated that 20 tonnes of toads are killed on roads each year). There are toad patrols such as ours all around the country during Spring with volunteers out on mild damp evenings to help toads reach their breeding ponds. If Marion would like to contact us with information on exactly where these toads were seen we will try to get a volunteer along to find out where they are heading. If you should come across trapped toads or frogs, it would help them if you could move to a safe spot to continue their journey.
    Charlcombe Toad Rescue Group

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