The common toad is no longer that common in Hampshire – and frogs are on the decline too.
The worrying findings are published today by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as part of the biggest wildlife survey ever undertaken.
For the first time the Big Garden Birdwatch survey asked respondents to report back on garden wildlife other than birds.
The report reveals that only seven per cent of Hampshire residents see toads in their gardens regularly, while 12 per cent see frogs on a monthly basis.
That compares with national figures showing 28 per cent of residents see toads monthly, while almost half of the respondents across the UK see frogs once a month – more than three times as many as in Hampshire.
Experts say the destruction of natural habitats is to blame for the decline of toads and frogs, which are a vital part of the food chain and help keep waterways clean by eating algae.
John Buckley, amphibian conservation officer for the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, said: “The results are very concerning, and we’re especially worried about toads. New roads being built across Hampshire have destroyed some important toad habitats.”
Toads often need to cross roads to reach hibernation spots away from their home pond, which means cars are a serious threat.
Mr Buckley said: “There is so much traffic in Hampshire that they inevitably get squashed – roads and toads don’t mix.
“We hope the survey is repeated next year so we can see if the situation is getting better or worse.”
Southampton Common has recently brought in toad-friendly measures, including leaving parts of the common unmown so toads can live in the long grass.
The RSPB study also showed that grey squirrels are the most commonly seen garden animals in Hampshire, while red squirrels – under threat from a virus carried by their grey rivals – were spotted monthly by only 1.8 per cent of people.