PHILADELPHIA – They’re closing off the streets here so that toads – in heat – are safe from traffic.
Philadelphia authorities have organized the annual Toad Detour in the city’s Roxborough neighborhood so that toads can breed – and breed happily.
Pennsylvania toads leave the woodlands of the 350-acre Schuylkill Centre every April to breed across the road at an old reservoir.
The toads tend to enjoy wet weather and warm temperatures, so when evenings fall, organizer Lisa Levinson sends out an email to some 1,150 volunteers to help the toads cross the road.
The breeding season stretches about a month, during which time traffic is diverted from the area and the street is closed off with barricades, courtesy of a permit from city officials.
Levinson launched the effort, now in its third year, after realizing that what she thought were leaves were hopping toads on the street.
“Cars were driving right over them,” she said.
Levinson and volunteers now scoop up the toads and place them on an embankment on the far side of the road.
“It feels great,” she said. “It’s almost a divine feeling that you know that you are helping.”
Last year, the effort saved about 2,000 toads from traffic, according to its website www.toaddetour.com.