4 July 2012

Drains Causing Problems for Amphibians

Froglife's Public Engagement Officer Sivi Sivanesan has been finding out more about some research into protecting amphibians from falling down drainage pots at the side of roads.

“Roadside gullypots can act as pitfall traps when animals fall through the grid at road level.  ... Once trapped it is unlikely that the animals will be able to escape or survive for any length of time.”  - Perth and Kinross Council, 2012

“Perth & Kinross Council Countryside Ranger Service have been conducting a study since 2010 to quantify the effect of roadside drainage gullypots on amphibians. Here’s a quick summary of their interesting results:

• In 2010 69% of the 322 gullypots checked contained wildlife - 641 amphibians, 56 mammals and 1 bird
• In 2011 63% of the 636 gullypots checked contained wildlife –1087 amphibians and 114 mammals
• Common toads formed the largest proportion of the trapped animals in both years
• Surprisingly the majority of animals were found in August and September rather than the breeding migrations of spring.

A possible way forward
The study has continued into 2012. The Ranger service obtained ACO wildlife kerbs via funding from the SITA Trust. These kerbs have a recess which allows wildlife to bypass the entrance to the gullypot.
A wildilfe kerb in place by a gullypot
If the wildlife kerbs are shown to be successful in the current study (as they have in other locations), Perth and Kinross Council Roads Section is interested in using them in suitable locations. This Council could set a precedent to help save toads at significantly important crossings by replacing old kerb stones with wildlife ones.

One way to help if you are concerned about wildlife and drains in your area is through joining your Toad Patrol, sending in your data for toad crossings and also making notes on where the gullypots are affecting amphibians and the number of animals you help remove from them.  Do let me know about any issues in your local area."

•  More information about the study is available here
•  The 2010 survey report can be found here and the 2011 report here 
•  More information about Toads on Roads can be found at the Froglife website here

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