Why We Should Love Toads

Author: Meera, August 21, 2015

What is brown, relatively smooth-skinned, and burrows into dry soil in Western gardens? The answer is the Western spadefoot toad, and there are plenty of reasons to invite them them into making their home near yours.


They like to dine on cutworms, flies, grasshoppers, slugs, grubs, wood lice, and other small insects. In fact, a single spadefoot toad will eat roughly 10,000 to 20,000 insects a year. And that’s just from spring until fall, when they go into hibernation.


After eating all those insects, you’d think they might head for your vegetable patch or flowers. But no, they aren’t interested in harming your herbs, flowers, or veggies.


We can help these toads set up housing in our gardens by creating a shallow impression in the soil and placing a board or two over it, leaving just enough room for the toad to hop in. For an image and to hear the sound of the spadefoot toad, see: http://www.californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/s.hammondii.html


Like most living creatures, they need water. A water garden, pond, or even a ground-level plant saucer or bird bath will do the trick. An added benefit of a water garden or small pond is its attractiveness to toads to lay their eggs, ensuring generations of toads in your garden for years to come.



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