Toad-ily Cool!

We have a pond which we lovingly refer to as our “puddle” because, as ponds go, ours is rather small; a mere 8′ on each side and 4 1/2′ deep in the middle. For our family (and the neighborhood) it’s been a fascinating place to learn about many life-cycles of nature as part of our beautiful wildlife garden.

Our favorite residents by far are the toads that appear every spring at the pond to trill and spawn then return to the gardens to live, hunt and eat until late fall when they burrow down into the soil for a long winter’s nap.

The toads from our yard found the pond almost immediately after it was built, lured by the sound of the trickling water. For eleven years we’ve witnessed the toads’ migration each April to the water where they lay eggs wrapped like long gelatinous ribbons around the strands of the cattail leaves.

We’ve learned to mimic their mating trill and listen amazed as they respond! After spawning season, the adults return to the cool, moist soil of the gardens or the damp leaf litter of the old orchard trees, where they’ll eat about 10,000 insects EACH in just one summer season!

Of all the eggs laid, only a small number will complete metamorphosis into toads, but when they do, watch where you step! Little black toads the size of your pinky nail can be seen springing all over the yard as they leave the pond in search of a places to live. Think of all the pests they’ll consume!

You don’t need a pond to attract toads. Encourage beneficial toads in your beautiful wildlife garden by providing shelters for them located near a shallow water source such as a saucer with an inch or more of water. ‘Toad houses’ can be as simple as an overturned broken pot or ‘cave’ made from stones. Create a shallow depression under the house and keep it filled with damp leaf litter because toads ‘drink’ through their skin. Toad houses are a fun project for kids of all ages… and they’re toad-ily cool! Happy wildlife gardening!

Lisa Gustavson, Get in the Garden, gardens in upstate New York

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Comments

  1. says

    Indeed, it is toad-ily cool! We have a pond that’s about 1/4 of the size of yours, and years ago we had a resident frog, who came from nowhere. He lived with us for three years—then off to either a bigger pond or rainbow bridge—can’t say which! We named him Clyde and whenever we had backyard parties and there was a lot of talking, he would start talking. When we stopped, he stopped. It was so entertaining.
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  2. says

    All toads are princes (and princesses) in my garden. It’s usually too dry for them to stay, but they sometimes visit from the neighbour’s pond down the street. I keep a toad motel (a broken clay pot on its side in a shady spot) for them to hang out in.

  3. Chris McLaughlin says

    Oh Lisa, I love your toad sanctuary! The toads are a beautiful addition to your garden not to mention your pond (puddle)!

  4. says

    Lisa, your pond is beautiful! At 8′ in diameter, that would be perfect for watching the toads and I love how peaceful it looks. We don’t get many toads around here – like Helen we are too dry, but I do hear them about a block away in the pond. Toads were one of my favorite wildlife creatures when I was growing up.

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says

    There is a catch pond about a half block away from here. Luckily some of the toads that use that to spawn in summer in our garden. I enjoy seeing these bug eaters in and around the garden.

  6. Cora Howlett says

    Love seeing your toad-friendly pond. We have one also in our backyard down the hillside, and in the springtime they provide us a symphony and a bit later we have the little ones hopping around all around the wooded area. So cute! And useful.

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