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
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It's rush hour in Philadelphia for thousands of 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, eat mosquitoes and grow up to be full-sized American toads. 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. 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 a 10-foot-high embankment and then travel down a densely vegetated hill. 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 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 residents seem to support the project.

"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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COMMENTS (19)
  • jevonmc-Sch
    8/20/2014 - 11:39 a.m.

    I think its a pretty funny story. It is cool because now i know not everybody hates toads. i like toads because they are fun to mess with. This story is really interesting.

  • matthewspires650@yahoo.com
    8/27/2014 - 09:00 a.m.

    Why do toadlets cross the road? To get to the woods where they would live, eat mosquitoes and grow up to be full grown american toads. After a couple of years, they'll make the reverse trek as adults - unless they get ran over by a car. Many toads are migrating the other way and need protection.

  • cruz_sv6
    9/05/2014 - 04:37 p.m.

    That is so funny I think because on a family trip I took to Las Vegas when we were going hiking we saw multiple donkey crossing signs along the road we didn't see any crossing but we did see one walking along the road.

  • PuRpLeBUNNYstar
    9/16/2014 - 01:22 p.m.

    I think this was a thoughtful idea for the toads. I don't know of that many countries that would enable a sign for toads to cross the road. It is very fair to the toads.

  • A.R.S
    10/07/2014 - 01:50 p.m.

    This is great for the toads it will definitely help them. It is good because they hopefully won't be killed. The toads are also so small they could be easily squished and die.

  • GavinM-Wil
    10/21/2014 - 11:04 a.m.

    the people that run the place set up road barriers to let adult and baby toads cross the road so they don't get crushed. People help them buy scooping them into plastic cups and then dumping them on the safety of the other side of the road in the woods.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    11/14/2014 - 10:52 p.m.

    It looks like the toadlets have to cross the rainy busy streets, but the amphibian couldn't cross the road, the people must have an idea, the people will have to do is do a roadblock cars. After they blocked the road, the volunteers will have to collected the toadlets into a big plastic cup and dump them in the forest so they will live there and be a toad and roadblock again for the adult toads to breed and lay eggs and more and more populations of toads will grow and these toad aren't in the endanger list.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why should people go out of their way for baby toads? Do toads benefit people? If so, how?
    Answer: I think people should go out of their way for baby toads, if they don't, the baby toads will be squished as pancake.

  • BristolC
    12/10/2014 - 11:34 a.m.

    The two stories I have read are similar because they both have a problem with transportation. The teenagers didn't love swimming to school and are trying to find a solution and the toads are having trouble getting across the street without getting squashed.

  • cheyenne.h0722
    12/16/2014 - 02:53 p.m.

    Usually people would not care about baby toads. I like how the people thought about even the little toads not just the bigger animals. The toad-lets had to cross the road to get to the forest so that they can live their life. There are different stuff they need to survive and some of the bugs they need could be near them but in a different area so they have to cross the road.

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