The Western Leopard Toad:
The Cape Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth (we are a little biased!) We also have some beautiful creatures that have chosen this beauty as their home. One of these animals is the Western Leopard toad which is endangered. They are beautiful BIG toads with exquisite and characteristic markings – chocolate brown spots outlined in yellow.
Western Leopard Toad Breeding Season:
For most of the year Western Leopard Toad lives happily in various gardens in the south peninsula of Cape Town. These toads are unusual in that they only breed ONCE a year for about 10 days in August! In that week (usually on a rainy cold night) thousands of toads migrate to find a suitable pond and a suitable mate. It’s like a sex festival for toads!!!!
There the males snore and fight for the females. The females lay their eggs and depart, migrating back to their gardens. The exhausted males follow later when no more females arrive at the pools.
Again, this would be perfectly natural were it not for the fact that we have built roads and highways all around their breeding ponds.
“So what’s the Big deal you may ask?!” – well sadly the answer is us humans! Toads can move up to 5km from their place of residence to find a breeding site and a mate. They have to cross roads, homes and building sites to get there… We dash along in our cars and end up squashing them as they try and find a mate and we race home to our fireplaces and dinners. The poor Western Leopard Toad lies squashed, often without laying any eggs, and the species is declining.
Toad nuts and volunteers:
Fortunately every year, volunteers step up to help save the toads (which become an indicator species for our biodiversity). These volunteers do toad patrols at night helping the toads who have “sex-on-the-brain” to cross the roads, control traffic and save the next generation of Western Leopard Toads.
These amazing volunteers also provide great information on breeding times, the numbers of toads and breeding sites and are slowly and steadily building the research to conserve these beautiful creatures that live in our exquisite home. They have raised money to put up warning signs and toad barriers to prevent toads from crossings specific sections of roads and have recently developed a Mobile Application called ToadNUTS to assist volunteers.
More about ToadNuts:
The Toad NUTS (Noordhoek Unpaid Toad Savers) are an exciting group of volunteers with the aim of saving the endangered Western Leopard Toad from extinction.We work together with all toad volunteers in Cape Town (South Africa) and are supported by the WLT-CC (Western Leopard Toad Conservation Committee)
What can you do to protect Western Leopard Toads?
- Join your local toad conservation organisation
- Websites and resources: www.toadnuts.ning.com or www.leopardtoad.co.za or Facebook Page
- Whilst driving – look out for the WLT on the roads, especially on rainy nights in August, drive slowly!
- Join the census- help take a census population count during breeding season.
- Take a photo of the back of the toad showing it’s markings and then upload your toad to the following website: http://bgis.sanbi.org/uploadyourtoad/
- Find out how to have a toad friendly garden that allows free movement for the toads.
Toad Area contacts for the following suburbs & surrounding areas:
- Noordhoek 0824761016 Suzie
- Sunvalley 0827716232 Alison
- Glencairn 021 7826400 Cilla
- Fish Hoek 021 7826144 Evanne
- Clovelly 0764548467 Kim
- Kommetjie 0828241914 Wally
- Zeekoevlei 0847381130 Mark
- Kirstenhof 021 7012567 Jean
- Muizenberg 0834414740 Susan
- Fir Grove 0827712957 Frenske
- Tokai 0842646633 Hanniki
- Hout Bay 0834028541 Yvonne
- Bergvliet 0847381130 Mark
- Rondebosch 0722366146 Helene
The western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus) is a protected wild animal in terms of the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 19 of 1974. This means that no person may harm, capture, possess, or transport this species, or keep it in captivity, without a permit from CapeNature, the provincial nature conservation authority. No commercial trade is allowed in this species, and any person conducting research on this species requires a permit from Cape Nature.
Cape Point Route loves Western Leopard Toads (& penguins)
Cape Point Route also offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town. Call 021 789 0093 or visit www.capepointroute.co.za