An article by Patrick Beaumont
A few years ago I created a small pond, 12ft x 6ft x 2.5ft deep and populated it with goldfish, etc. Sometime later whilst walking my dog we noticed something writhing in the road: it was a newt with a mangled front leg. I took it home and using scissors snipped off the leg, dabbed a bit of antibiotic on the stump and put the newt on a lily leaf. It lived for another five years and even grew a new leg, albeit a bit smaller than the original.
The pond was quickly colonised by toads, who as tadpoles gorged themselves on the food meant for the fish. The front lawn became a “No Mow” zone because of all the toadlets hopping about. The local corvid population loved this so I had to net the lawn, much to my partner’s annoyance. On warm Spring days it is lovely to sit out and listen to the amorous calls of dozens of romantic toads. However, last year was a disaster; it was carnage on warm moist evenings as the toads tried to cross the road. I rescued 100s but many died after I went to bed. I need my sleep.
The serious casualties were the gravid, slow-moving females and the few females that made it to the pond were pounced on by the males in great heaps and promptly drowned. I then discovered Froglife – check it out folks, it’s fascinating. They sent me a pdf file to create warning posters to put by the roadside and, bless them, the passing motorists took notice. This year I am delighted to report that only one toad croaked (couldn’t resist the pun) and we have a pond full of toads and spawn.