Common toads

Not to be diverted from their goal

Common Toads

There are some animals that have adapted so astonishingly well to our modern civilisation that we can only step back in amazement. For example, crows who leave nuts at red traffic lights to be cracked by cars. And then there are animals whose lives unfortunately do not allow such adaptation. The common toad is just such a case. For millennia they have always followed the same way of life. Like all amphibians, they live both in the water and on the land. Born in the water, they leave it in the summer as young animals and migrate in huge numbers to habitats where they find their favourite food - worms, snails, spiders or insects. These habitats may be open deciduous or mixed woodland, but also orchards and other semi-open landscapes comprising pastures, meadows and hedges, even allotments, cemeteries or damp cellars. In the spring, after the frost period, the toads then leave their winter quarters and, at night, set off again in large groups to the breeding pond - the one in which they themselves were born. Unfortunately, in today's world this ancient life cycle is intersected by something that Mother Nature could not have foreseen: roads with fast cars that lie between the winter quarters and the breeding ponds, and that claim countless victims every year during the toad migrations. That would probably have been of no concern to people in the Middle Ages. For them, the common toad was "the ugliest animal in the world" and was associated with the devil. They would never have been able to understand the effort expended nowadays for the lives of these strictly protected animals. New roads on toad migration routes are built with toad tunnels from the outset. Where there aren't any tunnels, nature conservationists often erect protective fences made of film that keep the toads away from the road. While looking for a way through, they then fall into buried buckets in which they are safely carried to the other side the next day and then they can continue their migration. As a motorist, please take care to drive as slowly as possible when you see the warning sign with a common toad on it at the side of the road.  Because the animals are not only squashed by the tyres, they also die as a result of the difference in pressure caused by driving - the faster the car, the greater the flow pressure. And please never drive faster than 30 km/h! And if you see animals on the road here, migrating uphill in the summer or downhill in the spring, feel free to help them get to the other side yourself.

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