Did you know the Cumberland Forest and surrounding trail network is home to Western Toads? July/August is when the toadlets leave their home and that means we will find them crossing roads and trails throughout the Cumberland Forest near wetlands and lakes.
Keep your eyes open for these little guys when you’re biking or hiking and help prevent them from getting squished. Western Toads are an important part of a complex food web but are facing dramatic population decline connected to habitat fragmentation and destruction that are now considered a species of Special Concern in BC.
TOADLET ALERT! July 31st.
The toadlets are still on the move! Above Sunset Boulevard and all around the trails that circle Allen Lake. Please stay clear. We share the forests and trails with wild creatures big and small. Give them space to do their thing!
Trails impacted are:
-Sunset Boulevard and all the trails that circle Allen lake
-Short and Curly
-Allen Lake Access Road coming off Broadway and That Dam Trail
-Allen Lake North coming from the trails above that feed into 50-1 etc.
How Can You Help?
Please avoid migration routes if you can, keep your eyes out for migration corridors and/or walk/ride slowly till you clear the migration corridor. Stay clear of riparian areas (including dogs please). Help the Cumberland Community Forest Society identify specific migration corridors in the forest and trail network so we can work with our community plan for signage and re-routes next summer. Message email@example.com with the detailed info. Photos welcome as well.
About Western Toads
Each year, tens of thousands of tiny western toads migrate in Cumberland Forest and Trails. Western toads are found west of the Rockies between Mexico and Southern Alaska. They will have three different habitats throughout a year: shallow bodies of water during spring breeding season, terrestrial forests and grasslands in the summer, and underground dens for winter hibernation.
The adult toads will migrate to breeding sites in early spring to mate and lay eggs. One female can lay between 12,000 and 16,000 eggs. They will then quickly hatch and become tadpoles in three to twelve days. The speed of their development is highly dependent on the temperature of the water. In six to eight weeks these tadpoles will then develop into dime-sized, terrestrial dwelling toadlets. This is when their treacherous journey begins.
The Treacherous Migration:
By the end of the summer the toadlets will leave the water to join their adult counterparts in the forests and grasslands. These toadlets are smaller than the size of a dime, and their migration typically occurs between the end of July and end of August and takes two to four weeks.During this life-stage they are easy prey for garter snakes, birds, small mammals and even other amphibians. They are also easily trodden on because they are so small and well camouflaged.
Once they have reached their destination, they will hibernate for the duration of winter, usually using existing animal dens or making their own. It will take two to three years for these toads to mature, and they can live ten years or more, continuing this cycle throughout their lifetime.
During peak hours an estimated 1,800 toads per hour can cross a trail. Weather conditions can significantly alter their behaviour, but the toadlets tend to be most active in crossing areas from 8 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. during the migration period.
A Species of Special Concern
Western toads are blue-listed in British Columbia, which means they are an indigenous species that are of special concern and vulnerable in their environment. Human activities—especially roads and urban development that compromise forests and wetlands— are leading to the loss of suitable habitat and the creation of migration barriers for amphibians. Toads and toadlets have annual migrations, which are especially risky when trails, roads and highways cross their route.