Frogs and Toads in the Garden

I love seeing frogs and toads in my gardens. Not only are they cute little creatures that are really fascinating to watch, but, when I see one, I know they are also eating tons of bugs... and that's a good thing! You know, those pesky bugs that are eating your veggies & other plants? ... Well, those little frogs and toads are on a mission to eat them all. I'm telling you, they are bug eating machines!

Frogs and toads can eat 10,000 or more insects each summer -- that's a heck of a lot of cucumber beetles, squash bugs, crickets, potato beetles, bean beetles, slugs, gypsy moths, ants, flies, earwigs, cutworms, pill bugs, mosquitoes & grasshoppers.

Toads and Frogs

Toads and frogs are amphibians and toads are actually a sub-class of frogs. Toads are a type of frog, but not all frogs are toads.

Frogs and toads have some distinct differences, including:

  • Skin: frog skin is often smooth and moist, whereas toad skin is drier and bumpy, almost warty looking
  • Feet: frogs usually have webbed feet, but most toads do not
  • Size: toads are often quite a bit chunkier than frogs
  • Environment: both frogs and toads prefer to live near water, but toads enjoy drier and shadier conditions, whereas frogs spend most of their lives in or very near to water

Frogs and toads in the garden

How to Attract Frogs and Toads to Your Gardens

Give them Water

Frogs and toads like water. So, to attract them to your gardens, be sure to have plenty of water around for them.

Garden ponds are great for attracting frogs and toads! Garden ponds make a super friendly environment for frogs and also give frogs and toads a place to lay their eggs. And you don't have to be a math wiz to know that the more eggs frogs and toads lay in or near your gardens, the more frogs and toads you'll probably have!

Give them Shelter

Frogs and toads are mainly nocturnal, so they tend to like cool, sheltered places to hang out and rest in during the day. Be sure to offer "frog friendly" shelters in or near your gardens ... give them a nice, cool, and safe place to hide.

Of course, you could buy a pre-made toad house (I've never bought or had an "official" toad house, so I have no idea how well those work). But, a pile of rocks will do just fine too. And something as simple as a flower pot partially buried in the soil, or over-turned completely with a large enough opening for a portly toad to enter will make a nice DIY toad house too. Be sure to put your toad houses in the shade to create an extra cool environment and be sure to keep a shallow saucer filled with clean water nearby.

Don't use Pesticides!

If you want to attract and keep frogs and toads in your garden, don't use pesticides. Period! Frogs and toads breath and drink through their skin, so they are very vulnerable to toxins that might also be absorbed through their skin. They are very sensitive to pesticides and will not fare well in gardens where pesticides are used.

Frogs and toads can live a surprisingly long time (the average lifespan is 4-15 (or more) years!), so if you create a hospitable environment for frogs and toads, they'll more than likely stick around and eat your bugs for you for years to come... just think of all the bugs they could help you eliminate!

Aug 19 2013

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