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Readers give thumbs-up to toad sex photo in editor’s survey

A complaint over a photograph of copulating toads led a regional daily editor to ask readers whether he was right to publish it.

Peter Barron, of the Northern Echo, received a complaint from a “hopping mad” female reader after printing a photograph of two toads caught in the act by a reservoir.

The picture, below, had earned toad patrol volunteer Dave Pressland a British Wildlife Photography Award.

However, the reader in question argued it was “inappropriate” to publish such a picture where young children might see it.

Northern frogs

Peter, who admitted to being “taken aback” by the complaint, then launched an online survey of the Echo’s readers to ask whether he had been right to print the photo.

The social media poll came out in favour of the paper’s decision.

Wrote Peter: “Naturally, I wouldn’t print a photograph of two humans engaged in sexual activity on a public highway but I considered a pair of toads mating in the wild to be perfectly acceptable from an educational perspective.

“That said, I take all feedback seriously so I launched a reader survey via social media to check my instincts and I’m relieved to say that the decision to show the photograph of the amorous amphibians has received overwhelming support.

“Indeed, the innocence amongst Northern Echo readers has really been quite touching.”

Among those to offer comment was reader Jill Easton, of Darlington, who said: “Are we sure they’re mating anyway? They could be playing leap-frog.!

Dani Moore, also of Darlington, added: “I genuinely thought the top one was just getting a piggy-back.”

Peter responded: “No, Dani, believe me, the male toad only had one thing on his mind – just look at his face.

“Anyway, together, I think we’ve reached the right conclusion: this wasn’t frogs porn.”


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  • September 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I begin to wonder what this world is coming to, when people can complain that “children might see” such a photo – when they can see far worse things on the internet every day. And where do they think frogspawn (or toad spawn), the stuff they’re all encouraged to search for in ponds, comes from? Pfft.

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  • September 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Made me smile – daft story of the day.
    And ‘frog’s porn’ and frogspawn – pure tabloid fun!

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  • September 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

    So what if children see it? They’ll just think the little one is giving the big one a cuddle. Except in my case; my dad would probably have corrected me and said: “No, son – they’re sh***ing”.

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  • September 24, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I’m not sure who is the saddest in this sorry saga, the reader who complained, or the Editor who has to ask his readers…..what a wimp.

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  • September 25, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Oh dear, I can innocently put my computer on any day of the week and uninvited I can see the latest photos of Kim Kardashian’s bottom. All nature photos are ‘red in tooth and claw’/ I think it is an amazing photo and well worth the accolade

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