Watch your step

Whilst bimbling along the canal yesterday, my eye was drawn to movement on the towpath. I became aware of what I initially thought were dark, fast-moving insects. Crouching down to study them at closer range, I noticed that the canal bank was populated with a host of tiny toads, almost certainly the result of this year’s frantic spawning. Less than a quarter of an inch in length, I was fascinated by both their number  and their speed of movement. I couldn’t actually work out if these determined amphibians were on their way to or from the water – I suspect the latter.

Sadly, many of these miniature marvels had been squished unseen under the feet and wheels of passers by. If you’re taking a stroll down by the water, do take care where you’re putting your feet…

From the dry, warty skin it's either a very young toad or an insurance salesman.

That's a 5p piece. These fellows were impossibly tiny.

The wandering amphibians were in several places, mostly on the towpaths around Catshill Junction.

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