Loads of Toads. article by Evanne Rothwell.
(The article appeared in the Full Circle Magazine July 2005, distributed in the Fish Hoek area.)
The Western Leopard Toad is one of the most endangered of the western Cape toads and, as such deserves protection. Their habitat is in the fynbos where they forage happily, eating insects etc. They are dry land creatures only going down to wetlands to breed for a few days of the year. Encroaching developments and a bigger network of roads are spelling great danger for them.
Research is currently being undertaken to find out more about these
engaging toads. We think it takes
Round about November to January the baby toadlets emerge from the wetlands and try to reach safety in the fynbos. As they are about 11mm long they are in danger of being trodden on, and people should be aware of this, when walking around wetlands at this time of the year. We have noticed that they seem to move when a little rain has fallen and it is nice and cool.
Interesting facts about the toads are that the distinctive markings on the backs are unique to each toad and they can thus be recognised. So if you have one in your garden take a photo and see if you can keep a check on your special toad, or if you have more than one. They can be found in gardens quite a long way from the wetlands. When the weather is hot they can sometimes be found in bathrooms. They can be picked up and put outside. They dont drink water but have patches on their bottoms, through which they absorb water. Dogs water dishes are often used for this purpose.
The brownish patches on their heads do contain a toxin, that can make domestic pets very sick if the toads are bitten or really threatened. They can however be very safely handled as this does not seem to stress them at all.
We will be doing a census during the breeding period to try and find out where the breeding sites are and how many toads there are. If anyone would like to come and help us - it will be at night and could be cold and wet.
Contact Evanne Rothwell, (021) 782 6144
A Frog awareness Evening in Fish Hoek, during August 2005.
date: Wednesday 24th August 2005.
venue: Paul Greyling School – Sunray Road, Fish Hoek.
from the ADU at UCT. He is the co - editor of the Atlas and Red
Data Book of the frogs of South Africa Lesotho, and Swaziland.
donation: for the refreshments please.
Frog packs – will be on sale for R25, also T-shirts and other items.
For more information contact Evanne Rothwell, (021) 782 6144