The BBC’s popular Sunday show, which delves into rural and environmental issues in Britain, had a segment in today’s episode all about toads. It showed a group of volunteers as they tried to stop toads being killed on busy roads as they emerged from hibernation, but at one point a ‘toad autopsy’ became a bit much for some fans.
Presenter Joe Crowley joined the team to find out about the new DNA database for toads, explaining: “Spring is here and nature is on the move.
“And we think of swifts and swallows making their epic journey from southern Africa, but actually, under the cover of darkness, a shorter journey is happening right at the end of your street.
“At this time of year, large numbers of common toads have woken from hibernation in winter hideaways and now need to head back to the pond, in order to breed.
“There are many perils en route, but crossing busy roads is perhaps the greatest.”
He observed a group of volunteers or ‘toad patrollers’ in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, who were armed with buckets and trying to save the toads.
Unfortunately, although the team managed to save a few toads, they did come across two of the unlucky amphibians who had been killed on the road.
Joe said: “We found two dead toads in the road, so that’s not what we were hoping for of course.
“The only positive to come out of it is that Remy and Simon can now take a DNA sample, and that will help inform their understanding of this toad population.”
One wrote: “On Countryfile there are people called the TOAD PATROL who help toads cross the road this is my dream job.”
“Seventy-one thousand rescues of UK toads undertaken in 2020? Good on all those people out there who give up their precious free time to undertake #ToadPatrol evenings! Respect. #Countryfile,” another added.
One viewer joked: “They need to learn the green cross toad #countryfile.”
Summarising the experience, Joe said: “I guess this shows how important toad patrol is because there aren’t many toads active tonight, but those that were [needed help].