We have a small decorative pond in our backyard and we also have a pool. I usually am one of the last people to open my pool because every spring the frogs from our little pond go up and lay their eggs in the water that sits on our pool cover. I will have thousands of tadpoles at a time in various stages of development on top of our cover.
Why do I want so many frogs in my garden? Because frogs and toads are tremendously beneficial to gardeners and anyone who loves to spend any time outside. They eat thousands of insect pests, including pesky mosquitoes and flies. (A single adult toad can eat as many as 10,000 insects per summer.) Both toads and frogs will also fill the air with their “generally” relaxing songs, and be interesting and well-behaved neighbors to have around.
Unfortunately, frog and toad populations are in decline around the world due to habitat loss and their extreme susceptibility to pollution. Frogs and toads breathe and drink through their skins, so both air and water pollution affect them directly. Water pollution in particular has led to a growing incidence of bizarre and terrible mutations in aquatic frogs, most commonly in the form of deformed and/or extra limbs.
To help bring these friendly neighbors into your garden you must be hospitable.
One of the single most important things you can do to welcome frogs and toads into your yard is to go organic. Chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides can all poison frogs and toads. Instead of spraying poisons to kill insect pests, let the frogs and toads take care of them! If you stop using pesticides, a host of other hungry wildlife, including birds and beneficial insects such as ladybugs and dragonflies, will also move in to the area.
Both frogs and toads also appreciate plenty of loose leaf litter left under bushes and in other shaded, cool, moist areas. Not only does leaf litter provide shelter and camouflouge for frogs and toads, it is also a one stop amphibian buffet. Some frogs and toads also overwinter underneath piles of leaves. The heat of decomposition keeps them from freezing to death. Toads will especially appreciate a pile of large rocks stacked with plenty of crevices and cavities to provide a cool, safe place to hide from predators and hot summer days. Toads also like to burrow down into soft, moist dirt under logs and boards.
You can build your own roadhouse with an upside down terra cotta pot. You must provide a large enough opening to accommodate your toads. The most common reason toad houses go unused is actually their size. Many toad houses simply aren’t big enough for the local toad population to get through the door! Also, the house should be near water of some kind, even if you provide the water dish yourself
I am happy. I am very happy.
This morning when I woke up
I felt good because the sun was shining.
I felt good because I was a frog.
And I felt good because I have you as a friend.
Alone, Days with Frog and Toad, Arnold Lobel