When I was a kid I was fascinated with toads. We lived in a small town and we had a root cellar. I used to catch toads and put them down there so they would catch the bugs. Did you know that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads? It’s true. It’s also true that frogs eat bugs and that’s just one of the reasons they make great neighbors.
As an adult I am amused at my dog’s fascination with toads. They now know not to get the toad in their mouths. They learned that the hard way, but they still nose them and follow them around.
Being an environmentalist, I am happy to see toads around my house and in my flower gardens. Toads are a sign of a healthy environment. Besides being cute frogs eat bugs, insects, worms, slugs, and spiders. I’ve battled slugs before and it’s not fun. I really appreciate the little toads outside. I haven’t seen a slug in a very long time!
Frogs Eat Bugs and are AN ENVIRONMENTAL GAUGE
The number of frogs around ponds and streams tells conservationists much about the environment. Frogs have skin that is permeable. They absorb chemicals that end up in our waterways and in the air we breathe. Surveys of frogs in mining and industrial areas have been able to identify chemical spills in waterways. If you spray pesticides around your house and in your yard you’re not likely to see toads or frogs. You’re also contributing to the toxic run off into storm drains. These drains in turn go into our streams and rivers that sustain our wildlife.
FROGS LOVE PONDS – YOU COULD CREATE YOUR OWN
You can create an area for frogs by building a pond and planting reeds or cattails along one edge. They love water lilies! My cousin has a beautiful pond on her property. Her son, who is a botany major, brought some water lilies seed pods home and tossed them in the pond. It wasn’t long before the pond was covered in water lilies and there were happy frogs everywhere! She is lucky because she has several acres and a lot of wildlife.
BUILD A MINI POND TO ATTRACT FROGS, TOADS, AND WILDLIFE
I read that a mini pond can be made with a plastic tub. Just dig a hole in your yard that is the size of the tub and place the tub in it. Rocks or bricks placed in the middle or on one edge will be necessary for the frogs to get in and out. Plants or tall grasses could be planted on one side to provide cover and enhance its look. Other animals will appreciate this water source as well. Rabbits, skunks, and possums need water too, especially when it is really hot. No matter what the size of your pond there is one very important thing to remember. Don’t use pesticides or any chemicals around your pond. Use organic or environmentally safe methods to fertilize or treat your lawn. It’s important to keep your pond in pristine condition.
TOADS ARE NOT ONLY CUTE BUT HELPFUL IN GARDENS
Toads live in dryer areas but still like the water. Toads need to have daytime shelter to get out of the hot sun. Some people buy toad houses. A broken clay flower pot makes a great toad house and it’s economical. Just put the pot concave side down and you have a toad house. I have several thick groups of flowers planted next to my house where the toads can get out of the sun and cool off. They come out in the evening and night to hunt insects.
When we make our last “pit stop” before bed my dogs always have to sniff the toads and follow them until they get in a crevice where the dogs can’t reach them. I used to have a shepherd mix who always had her nose in my flower gardens looking for toads. It was so cute when I’d ask her “Meggie, where’s the froggie?” Her ears would perk up and she would stick her nose down in the flowers looking for her beloved toads.
If you love nature and animals you’ll enjoy seeing toads or frogs on your property or in the wild. If you’re lucky, you may even get to witness that frogs eat bugs! The old adage of “getting warts from toads” is just an old wives’ tale. When I was a kid I picked up so many toads that if that were true, my hands would be covered with warts by now. Now I respect their space and watch from afar. However, if I’m mowing and I see a toad, I stop, pick it up, and put it in an area where I’ve already mowed.
We must look at toads and frogs as good neighbors. Not only do frogs eat bugs but they are a sign of a healthy environment. So the next time you’re outside in the evening, look around, you just might see a toad or a frog looking for a midnight snack.