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Create a Toad Habitiat
May 12, 2014
I hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day.
Especially you moms.
May continues to bless us with nature.
Orioles, Grosbeaks and Hummingbirds, Oh My.
Color, beauty, and movement.
Also, are the White-crowned sparrows that visit for a couple of weeks until they move to their Canada breeding grounds.
A tip of the hat to Sandy and my friends at Michigan Birding Network, for helping to ID the Least flycatcher (last picture on the bottom).
Wildflowers are finally in bloom, Violets, Marsh Marigolds, May apples, Spring beauty and more.
A stretch of warm weather with some rain, has the flower gardens growing, tree buds popping and all sorts of May type things happening.
Too bad the forecast calls for a big cool down by week's end.
Another May special......................................
The Toad Orchestra, playing theirs songs 24 hours a day right now.
Not just the toads, but I almost stepped on a few Tree frogs as they were heading to the pond.
I'm sure I'll notice a few toad pancakes this next week or two.
Until then, I enjoy the Sights and Sounds of Nature.
Our Creator is so good.
Motivated by this, I will share with you,
How to Create a Toad Habitat.
(Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks)
Eighteen species of true toads live the U.S. and Canada, with at least a few kinds to be found in every state and Province.
The American toad (Anaxyrus americanus), is the one I'm most familiar with.
They're particularly abundant in the eastern and Gulf states and the Mississippi Valley region.
In truth, they fill many different environmental niches and can be found in every sort of habitat from high mountains to rain forests to coastal plains to deserts.
Although similar (same family), toads and frogs are easily distinguished.
Mature toads are dry, bumpy skinned, brownish, plump, deliberate in their movements, and look rather pompous.
They hop — slowly — and may puff themselves up to discourage unwelcome attention and predators.
Frogs, on the other hand, are moist and smooth-skinned, greenish, slender, a bit dandified in appearance, and alert.
They leap —often with a total disregard for the consequences — and usually try to escape rather than bluff would-be captors.
Attracting toads is an idea of many gardeners.
Having friends in the garden is very beneficial as they naturally prey on insects, slugs and snails, up to 10,000 in a single summer.
Having a resident toad or five, keeps the pest population down and minimizes the need for harsh pesticides or labor intensive natural controls.
Let’s take a look at how to attract toads to your garden.
Creating the right kind of habitat for toads in your gardens is easy.
If you keep the basics in mind, you will have no problem getting a toad to take up residence.
Toads couldn't care less about eating your garden crops.
They are only interested in the bugs eating them.
Here is how you turn your garden into a humble abode for toads.
If You Provide It, They Will Come:
First off, never remove toads (or tadpoles) from their natural habitat and transport them to your garden, and discourage children from capturing toads both from your garden and elsewhere.
If you must, please ask permission first.
If you provide the right environment for them, eventually toads will come.
And not only will they show up, but they are also likely to stay a while.
Toads can live from 2 to 40 years, so once a toad decides to make your garden his abode.
It is likely to provide you with non-stop insect control for years to come.
All you need to do to make your garden a toad-friendly place is to provide the basics: shelter, food, and moisture.
I have several resident toads (females are much larger than male).
I do live near a pond, but it is the habitat that attracts them to my yard.
Shelter, moisture, and plenty of food sources for my four legged, warty friends.
(Northern Cardinal Nest.)
Toads are somewhat secretive.
They like to lie low and wait patiently for their meals to crawl or fly by.
Creating a toad abode is rather simple.
Toads make homes under boards, porches, loose rocks and roots of trees.
Leave some leaf litter under trees and shrubs in the garden and plant native plants and grasses.
You can also build burrows for them to hide in.
To do this, create a shallow depression in the soil around ferns, shrubs, or flowers, and surround the depression with layers of flat stones piled 6 inches high.
Broken terra cotta pots also make the perfect toad abode when flipped over in a moist, shady spot.
And remember, a well-manicured lawn may look nice, but it isn't necessarily "toad friendly".
(Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird this past week.)
Insects are not hard to find in the garden, and to the sticky tongue of the toad, nearly anything creeping or crawling is fair game.
Adults feed mainly on insects, which means you should avoid pesticides.
After all, pests are their food supply.
If you want, you can erect a toad light, set no higher than 3 feet off the ground.
Place this near a border between a garden or rockery and your lawn.
The light will attract insects to one area, which the toads will happily munch on at night.
I haven't gone to this extreme, as my toads are happy and full.
Did I say they eats slugs?
Lots of slugs.
Toads are amphibians, which means they like to live on land and in water.
That said, toads live on land most of the time, but need water like ponds and slow moving streams to reproduce.
Mating and egg laying takes place.
Within 2 months, tiny toadletts will be everywhere.
The most obvious way to add moisture to you garden is by installing a water feature such as a pond.
It doesn't have to be a deep pond, because unlike frogs, toads hibernate over winter either in the aquatic vegetation of lakes and ponds, under the water, or under leaf litter on the ground.
Some even turn into "toad hockey pucks"-with the partial freezing of their body fluids while buried under leaf liter on the forest floor.
If you do decide to install a pond, or water garden, surround it with rocks, logs, and native plants that mimic a toad's natural habitat.
If you don't have a pond, it's still essential to provide moist places where toads can cool off and protect their skin from the heat.
Hiding saucers or small, shallow pans of water in cool shady areas throughout your garden will provide toads a respite from the heat and enable them to jump in and out as they please.
We have shallow flower pot trays, used as birdbaths that the toads frequent too.
Moist hiding places under plants, rocks and such also provide moist spots.
Somehow, a garden isn't complete without at least one resident toad.
Ask the landowner for permission before you move frogs and toads from a location.
That includes tadpoles too.
A Couple Fun Facts:
Toad pee wont give you warts.
A group of toads is called a Knot.
A group of frogs is called an Army.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity."
Donald A. Adams
Now that is a mouth full, my friends.
"Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace."
2 Corinthians 1:12
"And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching."
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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