Golf Articles Tollcross Online Golf Headlines Cinema Plus Tollcross Sport

Golf in the news

Toad in the hold!

He's travelled more than 6,000 miles in the freezing hold of an aeroplane so you can forgive him for feeling under par – but at least he didn't croak.

Caarl the Cape Mountain toad gave the Griffin family, of Barnton, the shock of their lives when he hopped out of a golf bag.

Father-of-three David Griffin had just returned from a golfing trip to South Africa when Caarl leapt from the luggage and frightened his 15-year-old daughter Nicola.

He said: "I heard this loud shriek and saw Nicola pointing at the golf bag, and there was this big green lump hopping around."

The extra passenger turned out to be a refugee from a threatened species of South African toad – Capensibufo rosei – that had stowed away in Mr Griffin's golf bag bound for a new life in Scotland.

Mr Griffin, 48, a retired finance director who lives with his wife Leslie, 50, owns a holiday home in Stellenbosch, close to the Pearl Valley Golfing Estate that hosted the South African Open Championships last month.

He added: "There's a river and a large swampy area out the back of the house which has quite a bit of wildlife living in it, including puff adders, cobras, frogs and this species of toad that stowed away in my bag.

"When I found out I'd brought one home I looked it up on the internet and discovered that it wasn't dangerous.

"However, it's only found in South Africa and some of the areas where it lives are developing quite quickly so it's on the threatened list due to habitat loss. I guess you could call it a refugee.

"I didn't know what to do with it so I put it in a box with some grass and some water, and some mealworms to eat, and phoned round a few animal welfare places.

"I found out that Dobbies Butterfly and Insect World would probably be the best place to house him, so I gave them a ring. They reckon he's now the only one of his kind in Scotland."

The Lasswade centre took the toad in and named him Caarl, after the largest town in his native homeland on the Western Cape of South Africa – Paarl.

General manager Andrew McDonald said: "We think he's a male toad and probably not fully grown. He's about the size of a golf ball right now, strangely enough, and we think he may get a bit bigger.

"He was feeling a bit peaky after his cold journey over in the aeroplane so he wasn't eating. It's quite common with trauma cases such as this.

"We've given him a warm place to stay and some little nooks to hide in so hopefully he'll start eating soon – maybe the odd cricket.

"He's still under quarantine so we'll be monitoring everything that goes into him – and everything that comes out – but we're fairly sure that he isn't dangerous."

Source: Mark McLaughlin, Evening News, Wednesday, 13th January, 2010