It’s Toad Time

The Western Leopard Toad:
The Cape Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth (we are a little biased!) We also have some beautiful creatures that have chosen this beauty as their home. One of these animals is the Western Leopard toad which is endangered. They are beautiful BIG toads with exquisite and characteristic markings – chocolate brown spots outlined in yellow.

Western Leopard Toad (Photo: Sean Thomas)

Western Leopard Toad (Photo: Sean Thomas)

Western Leopard Toad Breeding Season:

For most of the year Western Leopord Toad lives happily in various gardens in the south peninsula of Cape Town. These toads are unusual in that they only breed ONCE a year for about 10 days in August!  In that week (usually on a rainy cold night) thousands of toads migrate to find a suitable pond and a suitable mate. It’s like a sex festival for toads!!!!

The males will snore and fight for females.. the sound is very distinctive. – take a listen to this audio clip!

The females find a mate, lay their eggs and head back to their garden homes.
The exhausted males follow later when no females are left.

Western Leopard Toad (Photo: Sean Thomas)

Western Leopard Toad (Photo: Sean Thomas)

So what?!
“So what’s the Big deal you may ask?!”  – well sadly the answer is us humans! Toads can move up to 5km from their place of residence to find a breeding site and a mate.  They have to cross roads, homes and building sites to get there… We dash along in our cars and end up squashing them as they try and find a mate and we race home to our fireplaces and dinners.

Toad nuts and volunteers:
Fortunately every year,  volunteers step up to help save the toads (which become an indicator species for our biodiversity). These volunteers  do toad patrols at night helping the toads who have sex on the brain to cross the roads, control traffic and save the next generation of Western Leopard Toads.

Dead Female Western Leopard Toad

Dead Female Western Leopard Toad

These amazing volunteers also provide great information on breeding times, the numbers of toads and breeding sites and are slowly and steadily building the research to conserve these beautiful creatures that live in our exquisite home.  They are also working on an identification project.   Special thanks to TOADNUTS Suzie & Alison in Noordhoek and Cilla in Glencairn.

Become a Volunteer:
If you have Western Leopard Toads in your area and would like to help volunteer, please contact one of the following volunteer groups in the south peninsula. They need your help and it will probably be between 2 nights and 2 weeks of the year.

  1. Western Leopard Toad HOTLINE :  082 516 3602
  2. Muizenberg Susan Tel: 083 441 4740
  3. Hout Bay: Yvonne  Tel: 083 402 8541
  4. Noordhoek: Suzie  Tel: 082 476 1016
  5. Sunvalley:  Alison 082 771 6232
  6. Glencairn: Cilla 021 782 6400 or 083 610 1619
  7. Fish Hoek: Evanne  021 782 6144
  8. Clovelly: Kim 076 4548467
  9. Kommetjie: Wally 082 824 1914

What can you do to protect Western Leopard Toads?

  • Join your local toad conservation organisation (contact details above)
  • Websites and resources:   www.toadnuts.ning.com or www.leopardtoad.co.za  or Facebook Page
  • Whilst driving – look out for the WLT on the roads, especially on rainy nights in August, drive slowly!
  • Join the census- help take a census population count during breeding season.
  • Take a photo of the back of the toad showing it’s markings and then upload your toad to the following website:  http://bgis.sanbi.org/uploadyourtoad/
  • Find out how to have a toad friendly garden that allows free movement for the toads.

Watch this video that was shown on Carte Blanche on 22 August 2010.
Click Here

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