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First Aid for Amphibians

Frogs, Toads and Newts are suffering from loss of habitat.

They are losing the cover provided by small ponds and overgrown areas in gardens now that water features,
    gravel, paving and decking have become fashionable. 
Traditional ponds in the corners of fields are disappearing or being polluted by fertilizers and insecticides.
Changes in rainfall and climate affect temporary ponds that amphibians depend on to protect their spawn
    and support developing young.
Wildlife reserves, unimproved areas and sympathetic gardeners help protect amphibians but they are
    vulnerable to garden machinery and predators.

frog in bucket!

Transporting casualties

They must not be carried in a container of water; they will be knocked against it and probably be killed.
Find a small cardboard box or ice cream carton with a lid and make a few small ventilation holes.
Put a couple of sheets of wetted kitchen roll or a wet, clean cloth in the bottom, add the casualty and make sure the lid is on securely.
Take to the nearest Rescue Centre of vet, taking care to keep the box as level and steady as possible.
If you have nothing else, put the animal in a bucket lined with wet kitchen roll or cloth,cover the top with a tea cloth and tie with string.

Temporary Housing and First Aid

If in shock or suffering from a few shallow scratches, clean up the wounds and keep in a dark, quiet box to recover.
To clean the wounds
Hypercal solution
Add 2 drops of the tincture to 1 tablespoon of tepid, boiled water and stir well.
homoeopathic treatments

Saline Solution
In half a pint of tepid, boiled water, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt and stir well.

Apply either solution gently with a cotton wool bud or twist of cotton wool, rinsing away any dirt.
Dab dry with a clean tissue and let the patient rest in a dark, ventilated box lined with kitchen paper or a towel.
In one corner put a very shallow container of cold, boiled water. A jam jar lid is ideal for this.
Place the box in a quiet, unheated area away from predators and strong smelling substances and leave to recover.
Check again in about 4 hours (or next morning if you fond the casualty late in the day!)

Are the wounds clean and dry? If so, gently repeat the cleaning process and dab dry. 
You will be able to release the patient in a safe corner of the garden as soon as the cat is out of the way.

Are the wounds looking inflamed? If so, you had better take the animal to your nearest Rescue Centre or vet for treatment.

Main Hazards

Strimmers and mowers
Please check long damp grass before you cut it and never push a strimmer under shrubs without looking.
Strimmers cause terrible wounds to amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs.
Major wounds will need surgery so take the casualty to the nearest Rescue Centre or vet.

Garden forks
Toads especially like to hibernate in well cultivated soil and are often speared by gardeners getting the garden
ready for spring planting. Check the area for cracks and gaps in the soil and gently remove the animal with a
trowel. It can be temporarily housed in a wide flowerpot full of dry compost.
If you are unlucky enough to impale a toad or frog, take it straight to a rescue centre or vet. If vital organs
have been damaged it will have to be put to sleep but shallow wounds can be cleaned and stitched. Make sure
you leave your address and phone number as it should be returned to a familiar territory.

Cats can't seem to resist patting and clawing frogs and toads and a few will inflict bites.
Check the animal. If it is shocked but only has a few shallow scratches, you can clean the wounds, let it recover
in a dark box then return it to its territory. See First Aid above for details.

Garden chemicals
Pesticides, wood treatments and even concentrated fertilizer are toxic to amphibians. They roam about in vegetation looking
for food and can easily hop into a patch of chemicals, which are absorbed through the skin.
Rinse the animal in a steady but gentle flow of tepid water. This will remove any soluble substances and rinse away volatile
If you know what the chemical is, read the label to see if there is advice about an antidote or treatment. Otherwise, take
the container with you to your nearest Rescue Centre or vet. They may know which antidote to use, or be able to give
activated charcoal to soak up any poison in the gut.

Drains, buckets, manholes etc.
Lots of small animals die by falling into open drains, manholes etc. These damp places are full of the insects they eat, so are
very inviting. Make sure any open hole with smooth walls either has a cover or a wooden ramp for animals to climb out.
Make a ramp
You can make an exit ramp with a 2-3 inch wide piece of wood that is long enough to fit at an angle from the bottom of one
side to the top of the opposite side of the hole or hazard.
Wrap a length of string around it at roughly one inch intervals to give some grip in wet weather!

drain and ramp                         make a ramp
  profile of hole with escape ramp


Frogs are prone to jumping into buckets of water in warm weather and if the sides are smooth, they are unable to get out.
Either put a ramp (as above) in your water containers or place a brick or tall, heavy flower pot (upside down) in the water so the
frog has something to push against and can jump out.
If you rescue an amphibian from a drain and it is uninjured, put it somewhere damp and safe to recover.
Treat any cuts and scratches as in First Aid above
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