LETS TALK TOADS!
Cuddle up to a toad. What? You don’t think so? Well, an animal that will live anywhere and eat anything must be OK. Add to that their easy going, non-aggressive personality and you have a perfect example of a favorite backyard visitor. Toads are easy to identify with their gold flecked jewel-like eyes and rough dry skin. These much maligned amphibians have been falsely credited with dozens of weird and scary legends, the most notorious one being they give us warts. NOT TRUE!
The unloved toad lives quietly in our backyards and woodlands, going about their job of hunting insects and the like to eat. Unlike frogs, adult toads live on dry ground. They’re not particular where they live – dry land anywhere from a suburban backyard to a moist woodland from sea level to mountain top. We never think about them until they stumble out of an overturned flower pot, usually startling “the you know what” out of us!
Well, here’s some things to consider… Toads were born to eat insects! It has been estimated, that during the 3 summer months, a single garden toad will consume up to 10,000 insects!! Toads stuff themselves with beetles, moths, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, snails and slugs. During the heat of the day, toads like to disappear into soft, damp soil such as under a rotted log, rock or burrow. A toad burrow is easy to recognize by its worn entrance. The occupant sits just inside the entrance and waits for diner to pass. At exactly the right moment, ZAP! It lunges out, collects it’s food and then backs in again to wait for the next course.
ATTRACTING TOADS TO YOUR GARDEN
Now that you are ready to adopt a toad, here’s how to invite one in your own garden…
OFFER SHELTER – As soon as they emerge from hibernation in the spring, toads head to water for the breeding season. Once finished, toads head for dry ground for the summer. Toads like plenty of cover in the form of trees, shrubs and flowers, sufficient cool, damp soil for hiding and plenty to eat. Toads like to burrow under logs, flower pots and rocks. A toad house is perfect for providing the shelter they need, plus a hole to sit and watch for unwary prey.