Toads, frogs and newts are being rescued in Germany
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There are about 20 species of amphibians in Germany. Among them – grass and nimble frogs, common toads, spadefoot, tree frogs, newts and salamanders. As soon as nighttime temperatures no longer fall below five degrees, many of them together head to the reservoirs to take care of procreation. This usually happens in March-April, writes DW.
In 2023, due to warm and rainy weather, the seasonal migration of amphibians in some regions of Germany will begin in the coming days of the second half of February – in particular, in North Rhine-Westphalia. In many places there are roads on the way of seasonal migration of amphibians…
Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely avoid getting these animals under the wheels, but the Germans are taking many measures to minimize the number of amphibians dying on asphalt in the spring.< br />
In many places, special signs are installed to warn drivers. Why in such areas it is necessary to reduce the speed to 30 kilometers per hour. The fact is that not only getting under the wheels is a mortal danger for amphibians, but also damage to internal organs from a shock air wave if the car is moving at a higher speed.
In addition, since frogs prefer to travel at dusk, volunteers often make their rounds along the roads at this time, so driving at low speed in poor visibility reduces the risk of accidents.
Special road signs are not only for the sake of saving amphibians and the safety of assistants. Hitting these animals or tracks from previously crushed toads and frogs, especially in rainy weather and at high speed, can lead to a skid of the car and end in an accident. So, if you see the warning “Krötenwanderung”, you should slow down a lot.
According to the law, the analysis of the seasonal migration routes of amphibians is a mandatory task when planning new roads in Germany. Where necessary, during the construction of the route, guide barriers are installed and special tunnels are laid under the roadway.
The minimum height of the barriers is 40 centimeters, and in the way of especially nimble frogs – another third higher. The optimal distance between tunnels in such sections, as recommended by experts, should be approximately 50 meters. They are laid with a slight slope and so that… there was light at the end. Frogs and other amphibians use such tunnels more willingly.
Road services are responsible for these structures – they make sure that the barriers do not overgrow (otherwise the amphibians will climb along the branches and stems), and the tunnels themselves do not become clogged. However, there are many roads in Germany that were built before these laws were passed.
In especially "busy" places, if there are no other options, traffic can be limited (for example, to prohibit passage at night) or completely blocked until the frogs finish their spring business. Temporary barriers are being set up in many other places. The animals caught in special traps are then transferred to the other side – they are carried, so to speak, on their hands…
Following the fence in search of an opportunity to get to the other side, the amphibians fall into plastic buckets buried in the ground. In the same buckets, toads, frogs and other amphibians are then transferred to the other side or immediately delivered closer to the reservoirs. "Taxi for toads" (Krötentaxi) – this is how this free and comfortable service is called in Germany.
Taking the opportunity, ecologists also keep records of amphibians. In many places this spring time they organize excursions for children, arrange reports and other events. For example, about four hundred community groups participate in the amphibian protection program of the German environmental association NABU throughout Germany.
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