'Toadageddon': Holyrood Park road closed to make way for Edinburgh's great toad migration

A road in Edinburgh has been closed to protect hundreds of toads during their annual migration as deaths within the species are on the rise.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:48 pm

Park rangers at Holyrood have shut the road between the bottom of Arthur's seat to Dunsapie loch during the toad migration.

The rangers from Historic Environment Scotland also put metal covers over the drains to stop the toads from falling in and drowning.

Gary Hovell, a local amphibian and reptile expert said: "Historically, before covid, the rangers would shut the roads down around February and put up signs saying ‘The road’s closed for toads’.”

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A road has been in closed in Edinburgh to make way for toad migration (Photo: Jake Chitty and Gary Hovell).
A road has been in closed in Edinburgh to make way for toad migration (Photo: Jake Chitty and Gary Hovell).

“On a good night, we can expect about 500 toads in the Arthur’s seat area during the toad migration which lasts up to two to four weeks in Spring. ”

Due to growing infrastructure, many of the Edinburgh amphibians are getting killed on roads by vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and joggers.

In Edinburgh, a toad site at a pond in Little France was found next to a new housing development.

However, due to this site being beside a busy bus route, Mr Hovell commented that hundreds of toads have been killed trying to make their way to the pond.

Sign urging members of the public to watch out for the toads crossing (Photo: Gary Hovell).

In the UK, the toad population has declined by 70% in the last 30 years, according to research from Save The Frog.

Mr Hovell who leads the Lothian Amphibian and Reptile group aiming to protect toads in the Capital said: "The more developments we have in Edinburgh then there’s more pressure being put onto the toads’ habitat.”

“They wake up from a mild hibernation and make their way to the pond to breed and that’s when they get killed by cars - males will be waiting on the roads for the females.”

Mr Hovell is hoping that more ‘toad patrols’ can be in force across the Capital as well as measures such as drain coverings to combat toad deaths.

The smaller male toad often hitches a ride from the larger female toad to the mating pond. The male develops 'nuptial pads' on their hands during breeding season which helps them grip on (Photo: Jake Chitty).

He added Edinburgh Council has been ‘very good’ at handling the ‘toadageddon’.

LARG – which is made up of local volunteers – have already rescued around 1,000 toads and frogs from Edinburgh roads in the past week.

The team is hoping to continue their work through the support from the local community who they are encouraging to report ‘toad incidents’ via email or over their social media pages.

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