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 Langley 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

Abandoned house blaze worries Langley neighbours

Redevelopment area of Willowby attracts squatters and partiers, and fires fear area residents

Day 1 underway at 2019 Minto Cup in Langley

Coquitlam and Orangeville out ahead after the first day of action at Langley Events Centre

Grillers compete for best meat in Langley

Rotary Clubs bring back RibFest for a second year from Aug. 16 to 18 at McLeod Park

New defenceman signs with Vancouver Giants

Brendan Pentecost played with the Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s

VIDEO: Protesters target Langley Ribfest, a Rotary fundraiser

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

VIDEO: Caffeine and Gasoline rolls into Langley Saturday morning

Facebook group for car enthusiasts have impromptu gatherings around the Lower Mainland

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Most Read