Mating Season for Western Leopard Toads in Noordhoek
Noordhoek is not only an unspoiled, country village suburb of Cape Town, but it is also a conservation area where inappropriate and uncontrolled development is strongly resisted. People who live here willingly give their time and become passionate about many causes. One of these is protection of the endangered Western Leopard toad, which is generally restricted to the low lands of the south-western Cape and with a fragmented distribution extending from the southern end of the Cape peninsula southwards to the Agulhas plain. The habitat of this delightful creature is around the large wetland areas and rivers usually not much further than about 10 km from the coast. Noordhoek is one of the
best-known habitats, where you will find Leopard Toad road crossing signs to draw the attention of motorists to their presence. Just opposite our Noordhoek holiday accommodation, is a large wetland from which the toads migrate in their thousands annually during August to their breeding ponds. Unfortunately in their haste to take the opportunity of the breeding season which only lasts about 6 weeks, many of them cross the Noordhoek main road at various points; usually on rainy nights when visibility is reduced.
With Horizon Cottages situated just across the road from the wetlands, the Western Leopard toad is a frequent visitor to our property, but occasionally also to the guests of our accommodation. It has very distinctive markings from which it gets its name and most of those that we see are relatively small in size. If you come across one in the accommodation, please do not harm it. It presents no danger to you or your children who are sure to be enthralled by the little creature. Most of our guests are delighted when they come across one although we did have one guest who left a complaint left on an international accommodation website, as if it was some sort of dangerous creature, rather than a little toad !
Noordhoek’s Unpaid Toad Savers, known as Toads NUTS are dedicated and very active volunteers and are often seen on the roads every night during the breeding and mating season. Their cars are dressed with reflective banners and they will wear reflective jackets to ensure their safety. Please be patient on the roads – this amazing migration usually takes around 6 weeks from start to finish.
Last Sunday night the endangered Western Leopard Toads in Noordhoek, Sun Valley and Fish Hoek started their annual migration to their breeding ponds. Their aim is to get to the ponds as quickly as they can, and this always leads them across roads. The Toad NUTS plea to the community is :
During the next few weeks, and especially on rainy nights from 6.15pm onwards, please be extremely vigilant not to run over our beautiful amphibian. If you do see a toad, please can you:
1. Make sure that you are safe before stopping your vehicle. (Please make sure not to cause undue interference to traffic flow)
2. Remove the toad off the road and place it on the side of the road towards which it is facing – it knows where it is heading. (They are not poisonous to humans and you WON’T get warts!)