Read by Robert Powell.
As a boy, Richard Kerridge found refuge in the wilderness of suburban England whose reptilian inhabitants were wondrously untameable. His often troubled and turbulent relationship with his father formed the backdrop to his adventures with neighbourhood friends as they scoured local parks and streams for newts, frogs, toads, lizards, and the ultimate prize - snakes.
What might it be like to be cold blooded, to sleep through the winter, to shed your skin, and taste wafting chemicals on your tongue? Do toads feel a sense of danger as the wheels of a car approach ? What exactly is an 'alien' species?
Kerridge has continued to ask these questions during a lifetime of fascinated study and countless expeditions.
Weaving startling nuggets of research (e.g. fewer than 5% of toads reach adulthood) with elements of history and folklore, the author has also created his personal emotional map of a lifelong relationship with these often unloved and overlooked creatures.
Family memories, a Natterjack sings, and the 'alien' Camden Creature.
Abridged, produced and directed by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.