A LEOMINSTER business has come up with a novel way to help toads on roads this spawning season.
The Grove Golf and Bowl is using its new arcade game – called “Splat the Frog” – to educate people about the numbers of frogs and toads that will be crossing roads around the county in the coming weeks.
Roger Helme, owner of the Grove, said: "It’s the time of year when all the frogs and toads go off to spawn.
“We have a sign up on the wall near to the new game so it’s a bit of education for the general public. It’s a very important time of the year. They get one chance and it’s not nice if they get splatted.”
But volunteers from the Hereford Amphibian and Reptile Team (HART) are out on roads around the county helping to ensure toads and frogs can cross safely.
Andrew Tillson-Willis is one such volunteer and said that toads migrate to the same ponds year after year.
"Usually if they are going back to ancestral ponds they follow the same route they have followed for decades – but they are unfortunately getting run over on the way,” he said.
"A lot of roads have been put in over the years and it’s quite a distance. To someone driving down a road they are crossing they look like a leaf or a clump of mud."
Andrew said that the number of toads getting killed on roads has become an increasing concern, with roads being regularly constructed and ponds being lost.
“Research we did last year we found that 75 per cent of ponds in Herefordshire have been lost compared to those which were on the original ordinance survey map," he said.
He added that nationally, around two tonnes of toads are believed to be killed on roads each year.
The volunteers are trying to combat this by keeping a close eye on roads in the early evenings.
"The main thing is coming out and physically picking them up, putting them in a bucket and putting them in a safe place the other side of the road," he said.
There are 12 ponds on the golf course at the Grove so there will be a great deal of activity over the next few weeks.
“Our lucky amphibians have very few roads to cross with us," Roger added.
Anyone interested in volunteering can visit herefordhart.org for more information and contact details.