The Common Toad
The Common Toad, known in Jèrriais
as the Crapaud (crap-oh), thrives in Jersey - so much so, that the nickname for a Jersey person amongst other Channel Islanders is Crapaud!
Jersey is the only one of the Channel Islands where these toads are found - this is how the nickname arose. Guernsey people are sometimes called 'donkeys' by Jersey people because of the number of donkeys that used to be found in St Peter Port.
Crapauds have become a sort of unofficial mascot of Islanders - and concern that their numbers are falling has led to a three-year study being carried out, paid for by the Jersey Ecology Fund. Fewer toads are breeding in the wild, perhaps because the lower water-table means that some of the ponds have dried up, and perhaps also because of pollution. However, toads are breeding in garden ponds - over 200 sites have been identified - and many Islanders help monitor toad-spawn in their ponds.
Traffic is a hazard to toads, especially during the mating season in late February, and you may see warning signs asking you to take care as you drive around Jersey.
The Common Toad made the Jersey headlines in an unusual story during February 2007. Dozens of toads were found hopping around on the beach near the Dicq Slip as the tide came up. Residents rescued many of the toads which were rehomed in local gardens. No-one is certain how the toads came to be on the beach. Did they get lost on the way to their mating ground, or did someone illegally remove them from their land? Either way, it is clear that local people are fond of their crapauds - and there was no problem finding new homes for them.
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