Several thousand western toads were migrating through rural properties in South Langley on Wednesday, their move sparked by the heavy rains. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

The toads of South Langley were on the move Wednesday morning.

Thousands of western toads began pouring out of a few properties near 18th Avenue and starting their annual migration into nearby wooded areas, said Laura Newberry, a conservation biologist for A Rocha Canada.

“Because we had rain this morning, that’s why we’re seeing the big push,” said Newberry.

The young toads are very small – not much larger than a nickel. But there are a lot of them.

Newberry said A Rocha has a very rough estimate of about 60,000 hatched this year and matured from tadpoles to emerge from one of two breeding ponds near 18th Avenue, west of 200th Street.

READ MORE: Protection requested as toads prep for thousands-strong migration in South Langley, Surrey

Signs are up warning drivers to steer clear of parts of 18th and 20th Avenues and 196th Street for the time being.

The toads in past years have carpeted the roads – which can lead to mass deaths under the wheels of cars.

The western toad is a species of special concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, and A Rocha staff, interns, and volunteers have been trying to keep them off the roads entirely for the past couple of years.

A funnel-style fence has been built leading up to a culvert on 20th Avenue, to funnel the toads under the road.

Once north of 20th Avenue, they’ll disperse into the woods, said Newberry.

Some will head off into Campbell Valley Regional Park, some will head as far west into Surrey as A Rocha’s headquarters at 192nd Street.

A fair number of them will provide food for other animals. A garter snake was hanging around the toad fence on Wednesday morning, its stomach already swollen with what was likely a large meal of toadlets.

A raccoon mother and her pair of kits were also nearby, likely waiting to grab a snack, said Newberry. Birds and small mammals will also eat a fair number of the toads.

There is still much to learn about the local toad population, noted Newberry. A Rocha has only been monitoring the migration for seven years.

Last year the toads didn’t seem to migrate at all during a long, hot, dry summer.

This year, one of the two ponds where they breed didn’t produce any toadlets at all. It’s possible they are reproducing on a cycle, she said.

The Township has posted signs on several local roads and drivers are asked to stay off certain areas unless they are residents.

The migration rush was initiated by the weather, but toads are likely to keep moving for a week or two.

 

A garter snake showed up to have a snack during the toad migration. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Several thousand western toads were migrating through rural properties in South Langley on Wednesday, their move sparked by the heavy rains. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

RCMP respond to incident at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Police were also on scene at a nearby apartment complex

White Rock RCMP seeking information about Aug. 16 assault

Man in 60s was injured around same time Paul Prestbakmo was stabbed to death

New recovery house rules, increased funding aim to prevent overdose tragedy

Changes ‘speak to issues’ highlighted by death of South Surrey’s Zachary Plett

Police hope to speak with witnesses from fatal 2017 stabbing in Surrey

Wally Rogers was stabbed outside his home near 88th Avenue and 144th Street on July 8, 2017

Surrey RCMP say municipal force approval a ‘challenging time’ for detachment

Province green lit the plan, joint committee for transition to be established

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read