This summer, you may want to encourage a toad or two to take up residence in your backyard or garden. One toad can eat up to 10,000 insect pests over the course of the summer. Toads like damp, shady areas and need shelter. If you want to attract a toad, you should provide a good home, or “toad abode” for it. Garden stores or online stores sell plain terracotta or even fancy toad abodes like the one below from Lucinda & Co.:
Toads need water, too, so you should leave tray of water near their abode. Line the toad’s home with leaf mold or leaf litter. Don’t bring toads from elsewhere and put them in your yard (or let loose pet toads). As with your frog pond, build it and (hopefully) the toad will come.
Here’s a solar-powered one with lights.
I’m almost tempted to buy this, but unfortunately I have no toads in my city backyard. Maybe I could use it as a Slug Abode (I’ve got a lot of them!).
Here some more suggestions from the National Wildlife Federation for making your own toad abode:
If you’re on a budget, you can improvise. For instance, half-bury a large flowerpot on its side in a shady spot. Or take the same pot, drill holes at the rim in the shape of a door, tap gently with a hammer to remove the chip, invert and decorate to your heart’s content (nontoxic paints, please). Another option: Arrange flat rocks with a toad-sized space underneath. Situate your toad abode in the shade—say, under a bush—and in the dampest spot in your yard, near a gutter downspout, air-conditioner drip or in a low spot that collects rainwater.
Toads are sensitive to toxins, so don’t use lawn and garden chemicals in your garden or backyard!
Speaking of toads, I’m working on post about Toad Lit, so please send along your suggestions for your favorite children’s books with toad characters.