A 'knot of toads'

A 'knot of toads'

 A short while ago a post was made about the 200 plus frogs which were all breeding in the Park Centre pond. Now although there are  still some frogs, it is the toads that have taken over. A similar number, but acting in a very different way. They will have hibernated nearby and make their way down to the water during wet nights, taking two or three to make the journey. The larger females rarely get far without being caught by the smaller males who will hitch a ride and protect their position against all others. Two pairs of toads

Every day Park staff have to check all the potential traps around the main buildings where the night’s toad traffic may have hit problems. The ‘unisex open access toilet’ on the patio is a favourite spot and many an early visitor has had to share this facility with one or more un-welcome amphibians. Last Saturday about 30 were found and taken straight to the pond. One pair and a solitary male toad

Once in the water the female toad takes them both to deeper water, avoiding the attentions of any single males waiting in the shallows. The spawn is laid in long strings wrapped around the vegetation. For the next week  at least this activity will be continuing and visitors can get an easy view from the bridge just behind the visitor centre. Tadpoles can be seen up close in an aquarium located inside the Park Centre.  For more general information about amphibians the Hampshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HARG), which is coordinated by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, has a good web-site at http://www.hwt.org.uk  

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