Car detour lets toads cross road without croaking

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 12, 2014 at 6:41 am •  Published: June 12, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It's rush hour in Philadelphia for thousands of baby toads as they hop across a busy residential street on a rainy summer night.

Why do toadlets cross the road? To get to the woods on the other side — where they will live, eat mosquitoes and grow up to be full-sized American toads (bufo Americanus). After a couple of years, they'll make the reverse trek as adults — unless they get squashed by a car.

That's where the Toad Detour comes in.

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education sets up a roadblock each year in the Roxborough neighborhood, rerouting cars so the amphibians can cross the two-lane street without fear of, um, croaking.

The cycle starts in early spring when adult toads, which can fit in the palm of your hand, emerge from the woods to breed. They cross Port Royal Avenue, scale a 10-foot-high embankment and then travel down a densely vegetated hill to mate in the abandoned Upper Roxborough Reservoir. Their offspring — each about the size of a raisin — make the journey in reverse about six weeks later.

So many baby toads were on the move Monday evening it looked like the road's muddy shoulder was alive. Volunteers scooped them up in plastic cups and deposited them on the habitat side of the street.

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