Trapped frogs and toads near Warwick given helping hand thanks to special 'ladders'

Warwickshire County Council engineers helped remove the drain covers in Tournament Fields
Warwickshire County Council engineers helped remove the drain covers in Tournament Fields

Frogs and toads trapped in drains near Warwick have been given a helping hand after a conservation group installed special ‘ladders’ to help them escape.

The ladders were installed in several roadside drains around Tournament Fields by the Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (WART) last month.

The ladders allow frogs and toads to climb out of drains by themselves

The ladders allow frogs and toads to climb out of drains by themselves

Frogs and toads fall in the drains when they migrate to and from their breeding ponds.

And since 2017, volunteers from WART have been rescuing animals from drains at a site in Warwick using nets and buckets.

But WART wanted to find a more permanent solution instead of simply rescuing frogs and toads when they fell into the drains.

The group decided to contact Warwickshire County Council to see if its engineers could help them remove drain covers.

A WART volunteer installing a mesh ladder in a drain

A WART volunteer installing a mesh ladder in a drain

They agreed, and WART along with the council’s engineers headed out to Tournament Fields in September to install 22 separate ladders in ‘gully pot’ style drains.

Masha Tarnavska of WART said: “The ladders will hopefully reduce the mortality rate of toads and other amphibians that fall into the gully pots. Regular monitoring will be carried out to determine the effectiveness of the ladders at this site.”

And Ben Wood, also of WART, said new types of drains would be the best solution.

He added: “The real challenge lies in designing new drainage schemes that are less harmful to amphibians by including means of escape from the roads themselves, means of bypassing the drains or avoiding the ‘gully pot’ design altogether.”

The ladders were designed by Trevor Rose of The British Herpetological Society to help tackle the problem of trapped amphibians in drains which often happens where roads are located near ponds.

They consist of a metal base with a plastic fibre mesh on the top. Animals are able to grip on the material and climb out of drains without help from humans.

The design was previously tested at a number of sites in the UK, including in Norton Lindsey and Balsall Common.

Several studies have shown the ladders to be the most effective means of escape for frogs and toads trapped in drains currently known.

Anyone wishing to find out more should email recordswart@gmail.com