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Toad ladders help stuck toads climb out of drains

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

‘Toad ladders’ were prepared last week to help amphibians during the breeding and migration period.

WildMaidenhead volunteers worked with Royal Borough contractor VolkerHighways to clean 188 ladders between Blackamoor Lane and Summerleaze Road on Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday.

Toad ladders are ramps with a grip mesh to allow amphibians which fall down drains to climb back out again.

According to Jan Stannard, leader of the project, these ladders have an 80 per cent success rate.

Maidenhead has the biggest toad ladder installation in England.

The ladders are being cleaned before the toads begin to migrate to bodies of water in which they will lay their eggs within the next few weeks

As well as cleaning the ladders, volunteers plan to be out on the roads when the toads start migrating, scooping up toads from the roads and transporting them to the other side.

“Toads walking down the road can smell the water in the drains,” said Jan

“They fall in and they can’t get back out again.

“It can be distressing for families to see toads that have drowned.”

This is the third yearthat the ladders have been installed and volunteers have been cleaning themannually.

Jan said: “There’s a lotof camaraderie betweenvolunteers.

“It’s strangely satisfying, helping a species indecline. It’s the ‘sharp end’ of conservation.”


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