TOAD patrollers in Warminster who have managed to rescue more than 1,500 live toads since early June are calling for a lower speed limit.

The Smallbrook Toad Patrol, which is run by some members of Sustainable Warminster, has been busy rescuing toads, frogs and newts from being squashed by traffic around the lanes by Smallbrook Nature reserve.

These amphibians are dispersing from their breeding ponds in Smallbrook Reserve and Henford Marsh.

After dusk, particularly on wet mild nights, they come out in search of food. They cross Smallbrook Road, Lower and Upper Marsh Road, Willow Crescent and the lane to Hunter’s Moon.

Since early June, the patrollers have found well over 1,000 dead toads and recorded 200 live newts and 100 dead newts, 23 live frogs and six dead ones.

As the weather turns colder, toads frogs and newts are searching for places to hibernate in gardens and woodland.

Toad patroller Tim Hancock said: “We need to do all we can to look after our amphibians.

“We have asked Warminster Town Council and the Area Board to consider lowering the speed limit to 30 mph along Smallbrook Road to try to reduce the number of deaths.

“This would also make the road safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other wildlife. We would like to try to raise some funds for wildlife tunnels to help reduce the deaths.”

Next Spring the patrollers would like to survey other parts of Warminster and would welcome more volunteers.

Luckily, there is no sign of the fungal disease in Smallbrook which has already caused mass mortality events in continental Europe amphibians, leading to the near extinction of the Fire Salamander.

The ‘State of Nature Report’ published last week by the Wiltshire Trusts, World Wildlife Fund and other conservation organisations points out how amphibians are threatened worldwide by a fungal disease.

The emerging infectious chytrid fungus could be devastating to UK newt populations and there is a risk of introducing it to the wild via amphibians imported by the pet trade.