The Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation are asking bonfire night celebrators to look out for toads and frogs before they light their fires.
"People tend to check for hedgehogs in the wood they have gathered for their fire," says Andrew Halstead, Principal RHS Entomologist. "But it is equally likely that toads, frogs and newts will have found shelter in these piles and might be missed. Toads and frogs play an important role as predators in the garden and should be encouraged."
Bonfire organisers can divert amphibians away from the bonfire site, and give them safe shelter, by:
-having smaller log piles
-creating heaps of leaves away from the main pile
In Autumn hedgehogs, frogs, newts and toads search for places to hibernate and piles of wood for bonfires can appear to be ideal hibernating spots. All three charities advise that:
-fires should be built on the day that they are to be lit
-wood piles made before this are fine but the wood should be moved to a clear, debris-free final spot only on the day
"Bonfire organisers can divert amphibians away from the bonfire site, and give them safe shelter, by having smaller log piles, or heaps of leaves, away from the main pile," says Morag Shuaib of The Wildlife Trusts. "And before lighting the re-built bonfire pile, it is a good idea to make a final check by torchlight, to make sure nothing has sneaked in."
CLARE Project Officer
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
London Wildlife Trust
200 Union Street
London SE1 0LX
switchboard: 020 7261 0447
mobile: 07810 184 501
On 7th July 2009, HCT became Amphibian and Reptile Conservation,
a new voice for conserving frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards.