Drivers let toads cross road safely
It's rush hour in Philadelphia for baby toads. They hop across a busy street on a rainy summer night.
Why do toadlets cross the road? To get to the woods on the other side. That is where they will live. They eat mosquitoes and grow up to be full-sized American toads. After a couple of years, they'll make the reverse trek as adults.
That's where the Toad Detour comes in.
An environmental group sets up a roadblock each year. It reroutes cars so the amphibians can cross the two-lane street without fear of, um, croaking.
The cycle starts in early spring. Adult toads, which can fit in the palm of your hand, emerge from the woods to breed. They cross Port Royal Avenue, scale an steep hill and then travel down a densely vegetated hill. Their offspring 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. Then they placed them on the habitat side of the street.
"I didn't expect at all that there were going to be so many of them in one area," said 17-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt. She held a cup with more than a dozen toadlets. "And they're so tiny. They look like bugs."
About 2,400 adult toads have been helped to cross the road this spring. And residents seem to support the project.
"We get some people that question it," said volunteer Claire Morgan. "But after they do it, they're hooked."