FROG-FRIENDLY volunteers are giving amphibians a leg up in Warwickshire.
The Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team has installed some 20 ladders to help frogs and toads escape from roadside drains in Warwick.
They often fall in drains when migrating to and from their breeding ponds, and it is thought to be a factor in their decline across the county.
Loss of ponds, urban expansion and busier roads have hit amphibian numbers in Britain and the toad population has fallen by more than two-thirds since the 1980s.
But the ladders – designed by Trevor Rose from conservation charity the British Herpetological Society – aim to help tackle the problem which is particularly prevalent where ponds are located near roads.
The ladder consists of a metal base with mesh on the top. It allows amphibians to grip on the material and climb out of drains.
A number of sites have already been tested, including at Norton Lindsey and Balsall Common, and the ladder has proved to be the most effective means of escape.
Before the ladders, volunteers rescued animals from drains using nets and buckets.
The team hopes future drainage designs will be less harmful to amphibians by including built-in means of escape from the roads.