It is mating season for the endangered Western Leopard toad, a time when they make their way from their home in your garden to a place near water to breed.
The species, which is endemic to the Western Cape province, has reached an endangered species status because of urbanisation. The toad can be found in low-lying coastal areas but are more specifically found in Observatory, Bergvliet, Noordhoek and Zeekoevlei.
They are characterised by the black spots and yellow patterns that cover their body – similar to the markings of a leopard, hence the name. They can reach up to 14cm in size and are found hopping around your back garden.
During mating season, leopard toads migrate to nearby ponds, lakes and rivers to find ideal breeding conditions.
Male leopard toads produce echoing sounds as a mating call, that can easily be mistaken for snoring, while they wait in ponds for female toads to answer their call.
Listen to the matting call here,
Once the female toad lays her eggs, it takes up to 10 weeks for the tadpoles to reach maturity as baby toads. Many of them don’t reach full maturity because of disturbances by humans, predators and industrial infrastructure.
Help save the toads
If you reside in the areas where the Western Leopard toad is found, here are a few ways to help grow the species;
– Residents who spot Western Leopard toads in their area are encouraged to contact the Western Leopard Toad organization (WTL), who can provide assistance in ensuring the safety of these amphibians.
– Create small access holes in your garden walls to allow the toads to move freely from and into the garden area.
– Build a toad-friendly garden by not using pesticides and avoid interaction between toads and your pets.
– Avoid speeding in breeding areas and during night time rainfall.
– If you encounter a Western leopard toad on the road, move it to the side of the road that it was facing to help it on its journey.
The efforts of all local Capetonians are required to restore the population of Western leopard toads.