The Case for Having Frogs and Toads in the Garden
Frogs and toads are amphibious hopping, croaking bug-eating critters that are of great value to any yard or garden. Frogs have smooth, sometimes slimy skin that is near the green and yellow-green area of the color spectrum. Toads have bumpy dry skin and are generally in the brown to brownish green region of the color spectrum.
Both are amphibious, but toads only need to be near water to lay eggs and reproduce while frogs spend most of their life cycles in the water or near the water’s edge. Frogs tend to have streamlined narrow bodies which aids them in propelling through the water, while toads are wider and plumper.
Both are creatures that you want in your yard and garden. Even if you are not growing any crops they are useful in helping to keep the insect population in check. They can make your time spent outdoors such as mowing your lawn or barbecues more enjoyable.
They have rabid appetites for mosquitoes and other flying creatures that come within their realm, a single toad can eat thousands of insects in a single summer. Every frog and toad knows that times fun when you’re having flies.
Attracting toads is very beneficial, they not only eat flying bugs but also devour slugs and crawling critters.
How to Attract Frogs and Toads to the Garden
To attract them means you need to keep up your end in this symbiosis. Providing an ideal habitat in which they can call home is the key, otherwise they’ll simply hop on over to a neighbors yard.
Avoid chemicals as much as possible. All wildlife, but particularly amphibians are very sensitive to chemicals. Chemicals are defined for our purposes as chemical pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizer. All of these have organic alternatives that in the long run will serve better than the quick dose of chemicals that totally screws nature.
Back in the 70s when DDT was banned, wildlife populations saw an explosion as the positive effects of less chemical intrusion in nature worked its way up the food chain. The same can be done in your yard and garden by seeking out organic alternatives to the chemical arsenals.
Naturally they’ll need a food source, so assuming you have a healthy population of insects for them to prey upon that should take care of that department.
Frog & Toad Garden Shelters
Shelter is needed for a frog/toad habitat. They instinctively prefer to remain hidden whenever possible to keep from getting eaten by snakes, birds, and other predators.
They’ll hide under lush foliage, rocks, logs, and anything that can hide them from their enemies. There are even Toad Houses designed to attract them. Toad houses serve the function of helping to keep toads on your property while providing ornamentation pleasing to the human eye.
Moisture – Water
Frogs will not be found if there is no body of water nearby, toads however can be found miles from the nearest body of water but being amphibians they still need moisture. They don’t drink through their mouth, they absorb moisture through their skin by sitting in water.
An outdoor pond or even birdbaths set low to the ground will help. The water serves a dual function, it attracts mosquitoes, which breed in water. The mosquitoes provide a food source for your amphibian friends and the pond/water provides moisture. This of course could backfire on you if you fail to attract toads and the mosquito larvae hatch.
Related: How to Clean a Koi Pond
Stocking your Own Frogs and Toads
In addition to attracting toads and frogs, you can also stock your own. The easiest way is to go out and get them, well okay maybe not all that easy – those suckers are fast, any kid not wasting away on the video game circuit can tell you that.
The nearest forest, pond, the lake is bound to harbor frogs, toads, and pollywogs indigenous to your region. Once you catch them you’ll want to have a habitat set for them in which they’ll choose to dwell and stay near.
They can also be purchased online but you’ll want to be certain you get a species indigenous to your area in order to ensure survival. Online retailers will sell you a habitat with a coupon to have live amphibians shipped to you.
If you have dogs in your yard please take note that our canine friends are great for keeping squirrels and rabbits away – however – if sparky decides to chow down on a toad it could poison him. These amphibians secrete a toxin from their skins that serves as a defense mechanism against some predators.