Sadly, most folks aren’t very keen on toads. Many consider them ugly and gross. People avoid them because of the myth that a toad can give you warts. The reality is that toads cannot give you warts. In fact, toads are knight in shining armor who come to your rescue, eating insects! That’s right, these “ugly” little guys are unsung heroes of the backyard!
There are many species of toads around the world, and they eat insects like bottomless pits. In fact, one adult toad can eat as many as 10,000 insects over the summer. Tadpoles that develop from eggs laid by females may feed on countless mosquito larvae. Since so much of what a toad eats are considered pests, why not welcome them to your yard by offering them a place to rest their full little bellies, like a toad abode!
What’s a toad abode? Well we make ours out of terra cotta pots. Both the country kids used new pots, but any time I have a pot that breaks, we place it in the yard for the toads. It can be decorated or plan, I don’t think the toads actually care, but by allowing the country kids to decorate theirs, it gets them involved and thinking about the role toads play in the environment. Just make sure whatever you use to decorate the pots with isn’t toxic or will wash off in the rain.
|My simple undecorated broken pot.|
Once you have a decorated pot or a broken pot to use, you need to choose the right spot to place it in your yard. Toads like damp dirt in shady areas. Areas to consider are near gutter downspouts, areas that get watered regularly, and dripping drains on your air condition unit. The moisture and shade will create a very nice environment for your new neighbor. When you place an unbroken pot as an abode, you will need to prop it up it a rock so the toad can scoot inside.
You could stop here and wait for a toad to move in. What do they say in real estate, location, location, location? While location is important, you can up your game and add some nice “fixtures” to your toad abode in order to make it irresistible. First, add a little leaf litter to the inside of the abode. This will give the toads a little something extra to hide in during those hot days of summer. You could also use a small terra cotta saucer (the things that go under the pots) and place it in the ground so the edges are level with the earth. I mean think about it, what toad wouldn’t want their own wading pool!
Once you have your toad abode in place, try not to move it too much. You could spook any toad interested in moving in if they think a peeping tom lives in the neighborhood. You will also want to avoid toxic chemicals that are sometimes sprayed on lawns. Toads, like all other amphibians have very porous skin and these types of chemicals will harm your new neighbor.
Now it is time to sit back and wait. Remember, no peeking! Trust me, you will know when one moves in because you will hear it telling all its friends about the great place it found to call home. Not only will you enjoy the amusing sounds of your new neighbor, but thanks to him or her, you will enjoy your outdoor time with fewer insects!