Sur­prise as train pas­sen­ger finds tiny green toads

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Lost Property - By Sam Wil­liams

Things you ex­pect to find on a train in­clude: lit­ter, old news­pa­pers, peo­ple talk­ing loudly on their phone, chew­ing gum on the seats.

Things you don’t ex­pect to find on a train prob­a­bly in­cludes eight tiny toads.

How­ever, this is ex­actly what one pas­sen­ger found on a jour­ney from Lon­don to Folke­stone last Thurs­day.

The small crea­tures were dis­cov­ered left be­hind on a car­riage, in a plas­tic box, placed in a car­rier bag.

It is not known who found them, but they were taken to the Mont­gomery Ve­teri­nary Clinic, based on the Eve­g­ate Busi­ness Park, in Smeeth, which spe­cialises in small and ex­otic an­i­mals.

Staff iden­ti­fied them as fire bel­lied toads, about an inch in size, sug­gest­ing they are quite young.

Ve­teri­nary nurse Lucy Toombs said: “At first glance they seemed healthy.

“They didn’t ap­pear in­jured or mal­nour­ished.

“They had a damp towel in the box, which would have helped them keep moist.

“They are leap­ing around hap­pily and eat­ing.”

The nurse said a train was a strange place for the toads to be found, and guessed that some­one had just bought them and was bring­ing them home when they for­got to pick them up.

In an at­tempt to trace the own­ers, staff at the vets put an ap­peal

Fire-bel­lied toads have a green or black body with black mark­ings and bright or­ange bel­lies on their un­der­sides. This brightly coloured belly is the rea­son be­hind their de­scrip­tive name.

They av­er­age about 5cm (2ins) in size

They have a long life­span in the wild, where they can sur­vive for up to 20 years.

The mat­ing call of the male sounds like a dog’s bark, rather than the typ­i­cal drawn out croak­ing groan

The fe­male of the species typ­i­cally lays 80–300 eggs that can be found hang­ing on Face­book about the toads last week, and have kept them at the clinic since then.

On Mon­day, some­one called in to say they were theirs, and they are ex­pected to be col­lected this week. off plant stems. The off­spring de­velop in pools or pud­dles. Their meta­mor­pho­sis is com­plete within a few weeks, peak­ing in July-Au­gust

Like many brightly coloured an­i­mals, the fire-bel­lied toad is poi­sonous. This phe­nom­e­non is called apose­matic col­oration or warn­ing col­oration, which an­i­mal uses to ad­ver­tise its ca­pa­bil­ity to hurt any­one who tries to eat it.

When faced with dan­ger, the fire-bel­lied toad makes an arch with its back or even flips on its back to show its brightly coloured belly. This be­hav­ior is known as un­ken re­flex.

Have you ever found any­thing un­usual on a train? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­group.co.uk

Pic­tures: Paul Amos FM4211279

Mont­gomery Ve­teri­nary Clinic owner Clive Munns with one of the toads

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