Toads- Princes Of Garden And Pond!

Toads do a number on unwanted garden pests like slugs and snails! Life span from tadpole to toad. How they help keep your garden pest free!

The poor, much maligned toad! It's only loved if there is hope of it turning into a prince. Well, there's good news. This critter is already a Prince- or a Princess- in its own right. They may not look like much unless you're another toad, but they do a lot for your garden and pond!

Pests Beware!

Don't think of the lowly toad as an unwanted guest. If you invite a toad to dinner, it will eat the things you most want to get rid of- slugs and mosquitoes are among its favorite meals. Toads eat insects and invertebrates.

Welcome!

Put out the welcome sign for your friends, the toads! They spend summer days under a rock or something similar. You can provide your toads with a broken flower pot or several stones under which they can burrow. Don't disturb them often or they will find a better place to get their beauty rest!



Water Garden Heroes!

If you have a water garden (backyard pond), chances are the toads will have your yard scoped out as the amphibian Hilton in no time. Although they live on dry land, they have to have water in which to breed. In the pond these guys will eat mosquito larva and other bugs that frequent the area. The tadpoles will nibble on the algae that coats the sides of your pond. They can't get rid of massive amounts, but the amount they devour helps maintain the balance of a healthy pond.

Toads eat far more bugs and slugs than they eat small fish. If you've had a water garden for any length of time, you know that it is all too soon that the pond is over full of fish. The toads help with population control.

Breeding

Courting frogs expand their throat skin and cause it to vibrate as it deflates. That's what makes their croaking noises. Individual frogs have different calls that can be recognized by other frogs.

Courtship takes place near water and mating takes place in it. When the happy couple is ready, they hop into the water, and the male mounts the female's back. She eventually releases a long mucous strand filled with black eggs, each the size of a pin head. Sometimes this strand of eggs will be several feet long and contain thousands of eggs. You can tell whether you have toads or frogs by the eggs you see in the pond (among other ways). Frogs lay their eggs in clusters.

In a week or two most of the eggs will hatch and the body of water will be full of tiny tadpoles under a quarter of an inch in length- black dots with skinny tails that wriggle behind them. In a couple more weeks, the tadpoles will be larger, and the tails will begin to shrink as little back legs grow. Soon you will see these little middlings sitting on water lily pads and stones out of the water. Before long, a walk across the grass may send hundreds of these tiny toadlets, no bigger than a child's fingertip, leaping across the lawn.

Varieties

There are several varieties of toads, all of which sport the same rough body and chunky frame. Their coloration may differ slightly, but they all like to deprive your garden of unwanted pests. In most species, the males are smaller than the females.

Because declining numbers of amphibians have been noted in recent years, it is an ecologically sound practice to encourage toads in your garden. It also creates less need for pesticides, and makes your time in your yard more pleasant!

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