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Look out below: the toadlets are back, Squamish

Squamish Environment Society warns locals to avoid certain trails while the tiny western toads are migrating.

Watch where you are walking and riding folks; the toadlets are back. 

The western toadlets are beginning their annual migration from the ponds on the Garibaldi Springs property (behind the Executive Suites Hotel).

According to the Squamish Environment Society, they will move east and up into the forests in the Garibaldi Highlands, where they disperse and grow into adult toads. 

The society is warning folks to obey signs to stay clear of trails where there are tiny leapers. 

If you do spot them, take a waypoint or find the GPS pin drop on your phone’s map application, and e-mail the location or a good description to: toads@squamishenvironment.ca.

The society's Alison Wald tells The Squamish Chief that this is the second year volunteers have been monitoring activity during the breeding period to identify western toad egg-laying sites, emergence locations and migration routes. 

"Volunteers also walk the upland trails to monitor the progress of the toadlets and to keep the public up to date on which trails to avoid," she said in an email. 

Additionally, she noted that because the District of Squamish is planning to develop a public park and multi-use path adjacent to the pond, volunteers are conducting more intensive surveys to help determine areas that are toadlet “hot spots” as they begin to move onto land. 

"We hope the information we gather can contribute to [an] ‘amphibian friendly’ park development, including the location of trail underpasses and other park amenities, and that we can work with the developer and the District to ensure a continued safe breeding area for the Western toad."

Here are some fun froggy facts from the Squamish Environment Society: 

  • Western toads spend most of their life on land, but they will return to the exact same pond or lake every spring to breed;
  • Males breed every year, females only every one to three years, and perhaps only once in a lifetime;
  • Males outnumber females up to 17 to one at breeding sites, which makes the protection of adult breeding females especially important for population stability;
  • They travel further from water than other frog species. Their summer range can be one to two kilometres from the breeding site;
  • Males are smaller than females and produce a twittering “release call” if they are accidentally grasped by another male during breeding;
  • Pairs can be in “amplexus” or the mating position in the water for up to 24 hours, making them very vulnerable to disturbance from animals and people during this time.

Find out more on the Squamish Environment Society Facebook page or website.