Detour lets toads cross road without croaking
Detour lets toads cross road without croaking A baby toad is held in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia
Detour lets toads cross road without croaking
Lexile: 1210L

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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.

"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 as she held a cup with more than a dozen toadlets. "And they're so tiny. They look like bugs."

The detour program began in 2009 when a local resident noticed the toad-filled road. City officials later granted permission to close the street for a couple of hours every evening during both two-week migration periods.

Organizers estimate they helped 2,400 adult toads cross the road this spring, said volunteer coordinator Claire Morgan. And because female toads can lay thousands of eggs, many more toads are migrating the other way and need protection.

Though some will inevitably be squished when the roadblock is not up, the toad population is not endangered, Morgan said. But protecting wildlife is important, she said, and local residents seem to support the project especially after they volunteer to help.

"We get some people that question it," said Morgan. "But after they do it, they're hooked."

Critical thinking challenge: Why should people go out of their way for baby toads? Do toads benefit people? If so, how?

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  • Chelsey7
    6/12/2014 - 08:48 p.m.

    This is a inspiring story. I think it's good that the roads are being blocked because if they weren't the frogs will mostly likely be squashed. Also it's good that people care about the environment because if they didn't the world would be a gross place. I hope nobody stops this road blocking. A lot of frogs are also saved from the road blocking.

  • JohnP-4
    6/13/2014 - 03:11 p.m.

    Those little toads are so cute I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to help them. Every year in the spring the adults cross the road to get to their breeding grounds, about six weeks later little baby toads the size of a raisin have to cross over the street to get back to their habitat. The American Toad isn't endangered but they still put up a road block twice a year to help them get across the road and survive, instead of getting squashed by a car. And it is even better that the toads eat mosquitoes that are very annoying.

  • WarrenB-4
    6/13/2014 - 07:51 p.m.

    This article is about frog crossing. The little toads cross the road to get to the other side. The other side is the forest. This year there were an estimate of about 2,400 toads crossing the road. Before there was this program, the toads would go croak.

    I think this is very interesting how mother nature does her ways.

  • Lauren5987
    6/15/2014 - 08:21 p.m.

    Ok although baby toads are totally adorable I really don't think it is a big deal if a few get squished. Toads are not endangered and losing a few wont make them endangered. I know some people feel differently but having a detour because of a couple of toads seems kind of silly to me... like really?

  • emmab12342624-
    6/23/2014 - 10:40 a.m.

    Some tiny frogs were found by Kaitlyn Hunt for the story took place in Philadelphia. For example, another person said, "We get some people that asks it. But after they do it, they're hooked!" & just like all that, we all knew why tiny frogs should grow form just a bunch of evolutionary eggs. Because they were born that way. & all of the love is for a bunch of baby toads. But in this case of our broadcast, we will make an exception. But in the exception of "they're hooked", that sounds like an unsafe thing to do to any other human being. They should have known that being hooked is dangerously severe & also unlicensed to do such a violation. Therefore, you may find out what happens to the tiny frogs? Actually, they were named "toads" which appear to be baby frogs. Hey grow thousands of eggs (but not from a woman. That's gross).

  • amandad-
    6/23/2014 - 11:01 a.m.

    The toads or frogs helps people because toads or frogs eat bugs so that's a good thing. People got hooked means they like something. It took place in Philadelphia where people rescue toads or frogs. People volunteer to help toads or frogs is to protect nature.

  • orahf-
    6/23/2014 - 11:12 a.m.

    The story is about toads that cross the road, so they can get to other side to mate.City officials close the road down and made a detour for the toads so they would not get hit by cars. The story takes place in Philadelphia. Toads do benefit people, because they eat mosquitoes an insects.

  • Haley Patterson
    1/20/2015 - 01:51 p.m.

    I think it's great that we are trying to keep all animals safe, even if they are really small. I think all people should go out of their way to keep everything safe.

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