Annual toad migration in The Hague

Sometime in February or March, depending upon the temperature, the toads will awaken from hibernation. Every year the Dierenbescherming regio Zuidwest (Animal Protection Society, southwest region) is in need of volunteers to help these amphibians cross the city's streets so that they can safely reach the water to breed.

The group facilitating the annual paddentrek (toad migration) looks for volunteers during a 6-week period who can commit themselves to a minimum of 1 evening in the week from sundown until about 23.00 hrs. to physically pick up the toads, frogs and salamanders and set them down on the other side of the road.

Volunteers can choose to be positioned at 1 of the 7 toad migration locations in The Hague:

  • Dotterbloemlaan
  • Laan van Poot
  • Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan
  • Wijndaelerduin
  • Kwekerijweg
  • Daal en Bergselaan
  • Elzenlaan

You can register via paddentrekzuidwest@dierenbescherming.nl.

More about toad migration

Each Spring, around the end of February, the paddentrek (toad migration) takes place in and around The Hague (and of course anywhere else where toads live). After awakening from hibernation, the animals make their way to the water where they once lived as tadpoles (or polliwogs) years earlier. This water is the spot where they will mate and leave behind their strings of eggs.

Once the temperatures start to warm the male toads first awaken and then the female toads. Given that the males are quite a bit smaller than the females, they warm up more quickly than the females. Although males usually wait for females at breeding sites, they will sometimes try to ambush them before they reach the water. Males clamber onto the backs of females and hold onto them tightly, the nuptial pads on their fingers providing extra grip.

Common toads spawn amongst waterweed. The female releases long strings of triple-stranded eggs, which the male on her back fertilises with sperm. About 600 to 4,000 eggs are lain. These strings become twisted and stretched around waterweed and vegetation so that the eggs settle into 2 strands. A few days later the adults leave the water. The tadpoles hatch within 10 days and, despite being distasteful to most predators, the majority will not reach adulthood.

Environmental habitat

Did you know that a multitude of animals make their home in The Hague? There are natural habitats for animals, flora and fauna in the city's rivers, forests and dunes.

Published: 13 January 2011Modified: 30 August 2018