6 Ways to Protect Beneficial Toads

Toads feed on common garden pests, which is why creating a healthy toad habitat will benefit your garden.

| Fall 2017

  • Portrait of a Common toad (Bufo bufo) with blurres grass background.
    Photo by Rudmer Zwerver

Question: My garden is filled with toads all year long. I’m cautious when digging so I don’t hurt them, and I don’t till. However, I feel like there’s more I could be doing for these beneficial creatures. What do you recommend?

Answer: To befriend toads (and virtually all other small wildlife), one must meet the animals’ specific needs: feeding, reproducing, and hiding. Toads are not too difficult to please if you remember that they’re predators and that they feed on other living things, including snails, slugs, worms, pillbugs, ants, and roaches. Also, toads are amphibians, meaning that although they live on dry land, they must return to water to reproduce. And finally, toads dry up easily and need shelter during daylight hours and dry weather.

Here are some suggestions that will benefit toads in urban communities:

1. Increase the amount of non-grassy areas in your landscape by creating flower beds and ground covers, which make good, long-term microcosms.

2. Mulch flower beds heavily with organic material. This increases important soil moisture and provides temporary habitats during inclement weather.

3. Delay tidying up old plant matter in fall to extend microhabitats.

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