How to rescue toads in a hole
Nicholas Schoon finds sewage workers saving thousands of amorous amphibians
Monday 16 March 1998
Several very small under-road tunnels have been built around the country so they can head towards their mating and spawning grounds safely.
But they face another peril; huge numbers of them get washed down the drains whenever there is heavy rain. There has been plenty of that this March.
At Severn Trent's Netherbridge treatment works near Gloucester, sympathetic sewage workers have set up a rescue patrol for amphibians which have fetched up in the settlement tanks there after a long, underground journey.
The smooth, vertical walls of the tanks stop the creatures from escaping.
They face certain death when they are moved on to the next stage of sewage processing.
So the human volunteers cycle round the large works beside the River Severn, looking for victims.
Then they scoop the amphibians out of the tanks and take them to a wetland conservation area on site.
Eventually they are released in the surrounding countryside. Netheridge's manager, Derrick Sorrell, says that more than 2,000 are thus saved in a year.
t Frog numbers are currently declining in over 140 countries
t Drought is the single biggest influence on frog numbers, as they lay their eggs and develop their young in water.
t Frog secretions may hold the key to curing ailments from stomach ache to schizophrenia. A painkiller 200 times as strong as morphine has been found in frog skin.
t Frog bones form a new ring every year when the frog is hibernating.
t Some frogs can survive well below freezing. The grey tree frog can survive even though its heart stops, by making its own body antifreeze.
t Frogs can jump up to 20 times their own body length in a single leap. The South American sharp-nosed frog has the world record - 10.3m.
Life & Style blogs
GTA 5 Online DLC: San Andreas Flight School update brings 16-seater jet plane and more
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
James Foley beheading: Twitter 'actively suspending' accounts sharing graphic imagery
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
'Long Live the Nazis' spaghetti dish sold in Taiwan renamed after backlash
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
£300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Digital/Ecommerc...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...
£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...