What’s hopping in Chartwell?

CHARTWELL – Anton van Niekerk of Gekco shares a little bit of information with Fourways Review about red toads, which are common in the area and which you may have spotted recently.

March 23, 2020 | Robyn Kirk | Fourways Review

There’s no need to be afraid of these hopping amphibians, says Anton van Niekerk of Gekco. Photo: Anton van Niekerk

After the recent rains, Chartwell and other greater Fourways residents may have noticed some new additions hopping around the yard.

The Fourways Review spoke to Anton van Niekerk, the secretary of the Greater Kyalami Conservancy (Gekco) about the recent emergence of red toads in the area. This species of amphibian is common to this part of the world and can be distinguished from other toad species because their backs are not as warty as other kinds found in the area (guttural and raucous), and its back is reddish in colour.

“This species has an almost uninterrupted reddish or ochre colour on its back with two ridges running from the top to the bottom of the body defining the colour difference from the back and side,” he explained. “These are great assets to the garden as they eat a large number of insects. They are often seen at night under outside lights where insects tend to be massed.

“They tend to prefer dark nooks like small cave-like features, under pots and other dark and close areas where they will not dehydrate when not active.”

Red toads may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they do a great job of keeping insects out of your garden. Photo: Anton van Niekerk

These creatures may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and Van Niekerk wants the public to know that this species is not toxic to humans but will leave a bad taste on the hands if they are handled.

“While some people fear frogs, toads and bullfrogs for superstitious reasons, they are not at all threatening and are completely harmless.

“If you need to handle them please be careful not to have any chemicals or irritants like salts or peppers on the hands as the skin of amphibians is very sensitive and absorbent.”

Have you spotted any interesting wildlife in your area? Tell us about it by sharing your photos, videos and stories with the Fourways Review fourwaysr@caxton.co.za