The benefits of toads and frogs in the garden
Toads and Frogs are amphibians that belong to the Anura order, the difference between a frog and a toad is a frog has slimy smooth skin and is a bit longer whereas a toad’s skin is bumpy and dry. Toads spend the greater part of their lives on the land whereas frogs spend the majority of their lives in the water.
But what is also interesting to note is that people, in general, have a dislike for both and either try to get as far away as possible from them or doing away with them which I think is pretty harsh. Understanding these amphibians and how they impact our ecosystem is of great importance and will give us a greater appreciation for them.
You may be reading this article and might be wondering why would I want to attract toads and frogs to my garden? by the time you get to the end of this post, you will not only see or understand why these amphibians are so important to a garden but you will have a greater appreciation for them and will welcome them to take up residence in your gardens and landscape.
How to attract toads in your garden
1. Many garden plants are poisonous to toads, if your goal is to attract toads then avoiding plants that are poisonous to toads and install plants where they can thrive will go along way in accommodating your garden friends ( toads and frogs).
2. The use of harmful chemicals is a NO-NO if you hope to attract frogs and toads to your garden. Many chemicals are harmful and have been known to kill beneficial insects which can help our garden plants in so many ways, these chemicals are also harmful to frogs and toads.
3. Insects are an added benefit for your garden because frogs and toads feed on insects. I know that the presence of bugs can be disheartening but if your desire is to eliminate garden insect pests in a safe and natural way (biological control) then the presence of toads and frogs will do the job for you. The presence of toads and frogs is a safe method to eliminate garden insect pests and to keep the environment clear of harmful chemicals.
4. Creating small water bodies is so inviting and encourages the presence of toads and frogs. A great way to create a simple water body is to use small containers placing them in different parts of your garden, your toad and frog friends will love you for it. keep a check on the containers every several days to ensure the containers don’t dry out. The frogs or toads will use the water to lay their eggs and to absorb through their bodies.
5. I know that we like a garden that is clean and free of debris but what I have learned over the years is leaving some leaf litter in your garden area, not mountains of litter but a small amount which is not that noticeable.
Many years ago I worked for a five-star resort where I got some of my training, one thing which I was taught by my then director was when trimming a hedge it is best to leave some of the leaves underneath the hedge. These leaves which are intentionally left add nutrient to the soil (organic matter) also the leaves which are left will help to retain moisture and adjust the soil’s ph. Bugs and insects are attracted to these conditions which will, in turn, attract frogs and toads.
6. Providing shelter is a great way to attract and keep both frogs and toads in your garden. Frogs and toads hate direct sunlight and will do all they can to avoid these conditions, frogs, and toads love dark, cool damp places.
A simple yet effective way to create a shelter is to lay a clay pot on its side near garden plants, this is so inviting which they can’t refuse.
A Toad House
7. What I find so amazing is you can purchase your very own toad house to place in your garden, these houses come in many shapes and sizes which can be brought from your garden center. Finding a shady spot in your garden to place the house is a must for your toads and frogs to be comfortable.
8. Installing a pond is a great way to attract frogs, frogs love the water and will find your pond so inviting and will make it their home.
9. The installation of low voltage garden lights will attract insects which will, in turn, attract frogs as they make a meal out of them.
Fun Facts about Toads and Frogs
1. Frogs have smooth slimy skin.
2. Toads have bumpy dry skin.
3. Toads and frogs are carnivores.
4. There are said to be more than 5000 species of toads and frogs.
5. Some species of frogs are poisonous to the touch, in many tribal groups the end tip of darts and spares are rubbed on the frog’s skin which is used to inflict poison.
6. If the life of a toad is threatened it may play dead to escape the attack of its predator.
7. Many large frogs feed on small birds, snakes, rats, other frogs, lizards, and mice.
8. It has been noted that a frog sheds its skin completely once a week.
9. It is said that the wood frog of South America freezes in the winter and when springs arrive they become active again.
10. In captivity, toads can live anywhere from 5 to over 30 years, and in the wild 5 to over 10 years.
The presence of toads and frogs in our garden is really awesome but even they have to stay undercover from snakes, birds which make a meal out of them along with dogs and cats that will kill them. It is best that you provide frogs and toads with lots of coverage such as rocks, logs, and also ground covers that make a safe hiding place.
The final word
Toads and frogs are our friends, their presence should not strike fear in us nor should their presence drive us to do away with them. Both toads and frogs bring balance to the ecosystem which is a WIN-WIN for us. The use of these amphibians is a great way to get rid of insects, bugs, and snails the natural way (biological control) without the use of harmful chemicals so let’s protect our garden friends as they go to work for us in our garden and landscape areas.