Countryfile viewers squirmed on their sofas as they watched an animal being dissected before their very eyes pre-watershed.
Sunday’s episode followed presenter Joe Crowley making his way to Bedfordshire to explore how toads have been emerging from their winter hibernation before travelling to their summer hangouts – the ponds so they can start breeding again.
Joe told viewers: ‘Spring is here and nature is on the move. And we think of swifts and swallows making their epic journey from southern Africa, but actually, under the cover of darkness, a shorter journey is happening right at the end of your street.
‘At this time of year, large numbers of common toads have woken from hibernation in winter hideaways and now need to head back to the pond, in order to breed.
‘There are many perils en route, but crossing busy roads is perhaps the greatest.’
Due to the toads coming out of hibernation, Joe explained that certain areas have official toad patrols with hopes of decreasing the rising levels of roadkill.
‘In 2020, over the UK more than 70,000 toads were rescued by patrols like this one,’ Joe informed viewers.
Presenter Joe Crowley joined a toad patrol and managed to save one from becoming roadkill (Picture: BBC One)
Viewers weren’t prepared for the graphic dissection (Picture: BBC One)
‘Evidence suggests that since the 1980s we’ve lost 30% of our toads every 10 years. Road kill is not the only cause, it’s also feared that a decreasing gene pool could be a factor in their decline.’
Joe joined a toad patrol to see first-hand how it works and managed to save both a frog and a toad.
However, not all were so lucky as he then revealed: ‘We found two dead toads in the road so that’s now what we were hoping for of course, at all. The only positive to come out of it is that Rémi and Simon can now take a DNA sample and that will help form their understanding of this toad population.’
Cut to a toad being dissected on a table and viewers simply couldn’t cope.
‘I’m glad we just got to see a toad autopsy up close,’ one viewer joked.
Another said: ‘I’m having Bad mental health time rn and I just walked into the front room and they’re??? dissecting?? a frog on countryfile and I cried thanks.’
Countryfile airs Sundays at 6pm on BBC One.
Credit: Original article published here.