A press release from Richmond Council, sent out on April 1st, made me grin for two reasons:
1) it was about toad safety on the roads of Ham
2) it included the statement: "This release is not an April fool in any way." Bless.
If it is to be taken seriously (and the fact that the reference to April Fool was in bold led me to believe it's sincerity), drivers using Church Road in Ham are being urged to be on the lookout for breeding toads crossing the carriageway every evening at dusk.
Usually found on Ham Common, the intrepid toads make the journey from their usual habit across the road to spawn in pools on the other side. They'll holiday there for about two weeks, worn out after their 100m journey.
Several hundred male and female toads are expected to make the journey, but already something like 100 have already been squashed by passing cars. Richmond Council are urging drivers to be aware and drive carefully to avoid killing many more.
Temporary signs have been erected, so please keep your eyes peeled!
Silas Van Der Bas
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Silas Van Der Bas is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.