My husband brought home a Toad!

Joy in SE IowaJuly 1, 2000

Hello everyone! My husband surprised me today with a toad for my garden. I have been having problems with something eating the Hollyhocks. (this is my first flower garden) So we thought a toad would help with insect control. But, I have been using a (Jerry Baker) formula of dish soap, mouth wash and chewing tobacco juice on my plants. Is that going to hurt the toad??? And, should I continue using that formula or just leave the insects for the toad to take carre of??? Thanks in advance for any advise!

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Lynn central AL

It might hurt the toad his tongue might get stuck to a plant when he aims at it to catch an insect. I would hate to have a toad's tongue glued to a plant by soap and chewing tobacco LOL!! I really would be afraid that these things might kill the toad, not sure though. Hope he rids your garden of pesky bugs!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2000 at 11:30PM
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Dorie(Z5 MI)

Don't count on just the toad to help attain a good balance.But love him anyway! What a great husband, give him a big hug. Tobacco is a very toxic material that will kill your beneficial insects, as well. Heck, nicotine is a terrible, cancer causing poison! You don't have to smoke or chew it for it to be terrible. It should not be used, no matter what ol Jerry says. You don't want to kill the hundreds of species of good guys to control the five or so bad guys! Having a natural garden and a wildlife habitat (that is the forum you are in) means recognizing that some of your plants are going to be eaten! The larvae of your beloved butterflies are probably the culprits. You don't want to get rid of them, do you? At least not ALL of them.

Make sure you attract birds to your garden; the favorite seed eater often eat insects as well, and they certainly attract the insect eaters to your yard. And be very careful in what you use in your yard. Jerry Baker's system does not promote a balance of nature at all.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2000 at 3:09PM
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Terri(z5 ny)

Wow!!! I really like toads and lizards! My significant other and I have a landscaping business and when I told him about this posting, he said, "If I had a quarter for every time you picked up a toad and talked to it..." Wish I felt the same about snakes. Being in this business, I guess I better get used to them, also. I know enough not to kill one, even the poisonous ones. They are all beneficial in one way or another. I used to have turtles all the time when I was a child, the little ones (I think they called them painted turtles). Used to have the plastic bowl with the little island and the plastic palm tree in it. Wow! Brings back memories.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2000 at 6:49PM
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Joy in SE Iowa

Terri, got a chuckle out of your posting! The other day the hubby called from work and had a snake! He wanted to know if I would want that in my garden! I said "no thanks"! He works along the river front (Mississippi river that is) and is always bringing home turtles. We had a large aquarium with 6 turtles in it. We enjoy watching them! But, he's always giving them away to the neighbor kids who stop by to see them! WHAT A GUY!!! HE'S A KEEPER!!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2000 at 10:02AM
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Wow, thoughtful hubby! I put down a toad hut with hopes of attracting a toad, but nothing. Always say I wish I had a toad to slurp up all of my slugs & earwigs, but my DH doesn't hear my hints. Guess I have to go out and get one myself. Kiss that man of yours!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2000 at 5:05PM
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Lynn central AL

Strange thing the last few years we have had a turtle in the spring, about a foot wide stay under our deck in the Spring/early summer and stay cool and eat bugs. Our deck still faily low to the ground so it is ideal for him I guess. (I wish he would come up on the deck and eat all the mosquitoes at the end of the day). I have seen him early in the morning come out from under the deck.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2000 at 10:16PM
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Elaine(West Michigan)

Shouldn't you leave the toads and snakes and turtles in their natural habitats, rather than moving them? How do you know they'll find everything they need in your yards?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2000 at 3:36PM
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I suggest making a log pile for your toad, it dosen't have to be very big,it would make a great home for your toad and would attract other toads.Also if you want more toads, start a breeding population in your yard, install a small pond. Not only is it beautiful, your toads would breed their and you would have a army of insect eaters. If you are worried about misquitoes you can get some dunks to kill them.As for Jerry Baker,I would not recommened that spray if the toad is around.Just because it is made from household items dosen't mean it is not Toxic.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2000 at 10:36PM
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Judy(AR zone 7 PHZ 8)

what eats ants? and dont say an anteater, no way i can get one of them.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2001 at 5:56PM
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John D

What's the update? How is the toad? Is it happy? Is it doing well?

I wish I had a toad in my garden. All I have is garter snakes.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2001 at 11:00PM
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Lynn, a turtle "a foot wide" could be a snapping turtle, couldn't it? Be wary.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2001 at 8:30PM
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Lynn,i'd bet the turtle is a "slider" of some kind.John,garter snakes absolutely love toads!(this is why you dont see any around) but don't sweat it just yet,they also love what toads love so they will do the same job for you.Judy,if you live in the southwest horned lizards aka horned toads eat the heck out of some ants.Nick,----a log pile? hmmmm,not bad,not bad advice at all!Elaine,i absolutely agree with you,yet i know from experience that if you build it(a garden that is)they will come!Joy,toads(and all amphibians for that matter)"drink"through thier skin so try not to get him when spraying that junk around!Everyone, thanx for the chance to blah blah blah! takecare of yourselves!-jon

    Bookmark   February 2, 2001 at 4:54PM
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garden_lover(z7 MD)

I want a toad(s)!!! :o( LOL I've mentioned it to dh and I've mentioned it to my nephews! LOL Next time we have a cookout, if my sil (sister in law) asks what she can bring, I'll ask her to bring live toads! LOL

    Bookmark   May 15, 2001 at 2:00PM
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ebang(Sunset 17)

LOL, I want toads too. When we first moved into the house we were infested with ants. As a last resort (they had my veggie bacon, that was the last straw!)I had to finally spray the foundation outside. Almost sprayed a lovey toad that was wedged between the foundation and the path! We doused him with clean water in case he got any spray on him, kept him a little while for observation and then released him. Didn't see him again though. Can one buy toads? Or maybe toad spawn? I'd love an army of the little things to eat all our nasty flies!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2001 at 3:19AM
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julie f

Yes, both the dishwashing detergent and the tobacco juice are poisonous to toads. They absorb moisture through their skin, so any of it in their surrounding environment (puddles, soil) are potentially lethal to them.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2001 at 4:05AM
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Sounds like a lotta people want to get some toads!! OK, now I dont know where a lot of you are from, but in many places a sure way to get a few is to visit a blacktop road at night right after a good rain. They will be everywhere, and the sad thing is that most people either don't have time to slow down to avoid hitting them or else just don't realize what a treasure they are running over--or else just don't see them,though I can't believe that one is possible with all the hopping going on. But BEFORE you go grabbing up 'phibs, you need to be sure you have a suitable habitat around for them at home-learn as much as you can about their habits. Do you have a pet dog or cat that might try to eat one? If so, it will probably only happen once-toads excrete toxins through their skins, and there have actually been pets die from having them in their mouths so there's a consideration. Also, just because there may be hundreds on a rainy pavement doesn't mean it would be ok to cram as many as you can grab all into a quarter-acre lot. Populations have a balance...too many toads artificially in one area is BAD FOR TOADS so be sensible and don't "over-import". Pick up a few, but don't get crazy. If you have toads around already and would like some sound advice on how to get them to stay in your yard, I posted a note under another thread in this forum about a perfect toad shelter (IT'S FREE,MOST LIKELY,TOO! :) and if I remember,the posting was titled "a nice surprise". Check that one for me!! Enjoy those toads--I do.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2001 at 11:46PM
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Before you do any mowing or weed eating, look for your toads. I have lots in the area so just run the plastic garden rake over the area (don't need to actually work at it). It will hop before rake bumps it. If one is in the immediate area, move it FAR away to a safe portion of your yard.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2001 at 1:06AM
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nancy! that is absolutely the most wonderful advice i've heard in a while! having hit a toad with the mower before i can tell you i don't EVER want to experience that kind of heartbreak again!an emphatic thank you for posting,and i hope many many have read and learned from you!~jon

    Bookmark   July 31, 2001 at 12:01PM
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rubyskies_oh(Z6 SOh)

I have two toad houses (one on either side of my house), but most toads do not like them. Most of my toads hang out around my pond or my foundation. I have got all sizes too. My "grandpa" frog stays in front of my house and hides under some rocks. But during the summer I have a lot of "babies" running around. I think they're great to keep down bugs. When I mow the grass, I am very careful to be on the lookout for toads hopping in front of the mower usually. Unfortunately, last year I ran over a darling green frog (I think he was a tree frog, but I'm not sure). I was heartbroken.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2001 at 8:40AM
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marilyn_c(z9 Tex.coast)

One way to attract toads to your yard is to put in a little
fish pond. They will be attracted to the water to mate and
lay eggs. Toads like to hang out in a cool, dark place during the day, so you may already have toads and just don't see them. When it rains, they start coming out, but
that is a good idea to look for them on roads after a rain.
I think it is because the road holds heat and that attracts
them. I also don't believe in moving animals from their
natural habitats, but if you have a good place for them in
your yard, relocating a few shouldn't hurt.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 2:36PM
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well, then husbands are good for something!

I hope you toad is well- how aobut an update?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 7:19PM
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I had many toads living in my rock garden...I made lots of little rock shelters for them and they seemed to like them. Here in NM I had to water the garden every day in summer because it is quite arid here so I just made sure to water their rock houses too. Another animal that eats ants is flickers. (Related to woodpeckers) Juana

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 6:25PM
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ccook(z7 TX)

I am very attached to my toads. I started with a few natives, I put out little toad ponds (upside down saucers!)
and toad houses. Now I have what seems like hundreds!

They really eat alot of bugs, I hope they keep the invasion of grasshoppers at bay! They love to cover themselves up in the mulch in the hot afternoons. They will get in your potted plants also and scare you if you don't realize they are there when you water!

You will love having toads!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 11:58AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I had no idea, until recently, how loudly some of them sing!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 2:53PM
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Oh my. I wish I could get rid of my toads. What????? Well, I would absolutely love to have a good old American toad, but my toads are Bufo marinus, the Giant Toad, an exotic species introduced into South Florida. These jumbos (up to dinner-plate sized) eat everything from other herps to dry kibbled dog food (I kid you not). I first started seeing them about a year ago - since then, my once thriving population of tiny greenhouse frogs (another, much more lovable exotic) has almost disappeared. How ironic - I'm lamenting the demise of one exotic at the hands of another. And, as to husbands, my sweetie views my garden pursuits with fond amusement from a safe distance. When I told him about this thread, he asked, predictably and utterly sincerely, why I don't just buy the kind of toad I like. Gotta love em, eh?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2002 at 7:47PM
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rumplefrogskin(z3/4A Wisc.)

In response to the Cane toads (Bufo marinus) -- they are creating a terrible problem over in Australia too. I've seen some programs on it and how they are destroying many small marsupials over there with their voracious appetites and they have been known to kill off native toad populations, as well as other non-native (but more benign) species such as those greenhouse frogs.

In Australia they are organizing school children to go on toad patrols at night with their parents or a teacher to collect all the Cane Toads that they can find -- then they euthanize them by putting them in plastic bags in the freezer, apparently the most humane method. I am glad that they cannot survive this far north and endanger our local frogs.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2002 at 6:23AM
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The plastic bag in the freezer method is what I use for the dozens of large, voracious snails that I collect in my garden on rainy evenings, but I'm not sure I have the stomach to do it to a toad, even a B. marinus. Funny how we distinguish between different forms of life in our sensibilities.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2002 at 7:30AM
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While toads are generally not protected species, many turtles are protected and, as such, should not be moved from their native habitat, even if you want one in your pond ot to give to the neighborhood kids. Go to the pet store and buy yourself a farm-raised turtle if you want one, but please leave the wild turtles where you find them. They do not appreciate being moved and will reward you by proliferating in their natural habitat. Not all turtles are protected (and some are protected in one area but not another), but be sure you check before making a mistake. Turtles are great for your pond and fun to have around, especially when they like to be hand fed, as many who are farm raised do.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2002 at 3:21PM
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Could be worse. Our friend Martha's ex-husband
brought home a waitress.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2002 at 5:03PM
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Hollyhock is a host plant. You are probably killing

    Bookmark   April 20, 2002 at 5:08PM
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Joy, Lepidopterist makes a good (though a tad brusque) point. The fact that you're posting on this forum indicates that you want your garden to be wildlife-friendly. Hollyhocks are one of several food plants that are hosts for the caterpillars of the Painted Lady butterfly. It should be easy to tell if that's what's eating your hollyhocks - just look for caterpillars. If you find cats, maybe you could just let the hollyhocks go this year and plant non-host flowers in your "display" bed next year (and plenty of host plants elsewhere on your property!) If you don't see any cats, it could be slugs and snails. There are several methods for controlling these hungry gastropods that don't involve using poisons that can be harmful to beneficial insects and wildlife (and make no mistake, tobacco juice is as toxic to many animals as DDT). The site below is one of many resources on the web that offers advice on controlling slugs and snails in naturalized gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Snail and slug control

    Bookmark   April 21, 2002 at 11:31AM
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hey catherine t,..i know what you mean about how loud they are.precisely why i install a waterfeature at every place i move to...the neighbors end up having to plug their ears! i wonder though,...would there be some kind of laws standing between me and my pursuit to drive the neighborhood insane from the noise? if said laws exist it will be a sad chapter in my life to have to take it all down.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2002 at 2:08PM
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If your yards don't already have toads, that generally means that your yards are not suitable habitat for them. Hence, you won't find them, and if you do bring them there, you are esentially isolating them from their proper habitat and they'll probably die. Not a very wildlife-friendly idea here.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 10:54AM
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In many cases that's surely right, but not always. After all, the whole purpose of wildlife gardening is to improve the ability of our lands to sustain wildlife. In urban areas where some animals were locally extirpated by development, suitable habitat may now exist that has not been recolonized, either because of urban obstacles or because an otherwise suitable area is missing a single necessary component, such as (for toads) a water body for reproduction. A gardener that uses organic gardening methods, plants materials selected for their food, cover and pollinator value, and adds structural diversity through plantings and "hardscape" features like water bodies, rock or brush piles, downed logs, nest boxes, etc., may have created a habitat with "carrying capacity" that is not utilized because of the above-mentioned obstacles. Before relocating an animal to even a wildlife-friendly yard, one should consider the specific food, shelter and reproductive needs of that species, as well as its typical "home territory" (i.e., how much area does an individual or breeding pair typically occupy). If your honest assessment is that your yard provides for its needs and is large enough to provide for a sustainable population, then transplanting a few individuals may be a way of establishing a local population in a suitable, but otherwise unoccupied space.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 2:38PM
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amy,very good advice. lisa,also very good.and for the record,i've got no concearns for there are no risks.although i live in the centre of town,i've had toads,frogs,lizards,and even a snake turn up on their own.i think they were actually already here,and remained hidden untill i lured them out of hiding by gardening with them in mind.took into consideration all those things lisa suggested too. when you build it,..they really do come....unless they were already there in the first place, and then they're sure not leavin! :)


    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 4:06PM
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No offense,but your husband kind of sounds like an over grown little boy. I had a pet toad for less than 24 hrs once before he escaped. I was 8 years old at the time.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2002 at 12:21PM
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I sure am glad I stopped in here to check out whether they are good or bad for the garden... I found one backed into a little hole under the cilantro in my raised beds. I looked in expecting to discover a chipmunk or something. I was afraid he was eating my strawberries, but thought it was more likely he'd scarf down the slugs etc. He's welcome to stay and I hope he brings his friends. Now this little toad pond thing that people are mentioning here... an upside down saucer? So what we're wanting to give these guys is a little puddle nearby? I hope he's safe: there are loads of hawks, jays, crows etc around here, not to mention the foxes and coyotes now.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2002 at 7:54PM
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My garden has been taken over by a legion of toads! I need a friendly way to get rid of about 2/3 of them. They are destroying my veggies. I haven't had to do anything special to attract them. They have just been multiplying over the past couple years. Consequently, the pretty little tree frogs are virtually extinct in my yard. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2002 at 1:15PM
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stitches216(8/9 Hou-Galv)

BluebirdIowa's post of April 20 prompts this. This is not to contend with Bluebird's point. But it is to make a point that sometimes humans can improve survival of some wildlife by compensating for human-destructed habitats with "virtual domestication" or "rescue symbiosis." This is a story about desert tortoises, with a wrap-up on toads.

Years ago, I lived on a military base in the California desert, about 100 miles from Los Angeles. The houses on the base were clustered just like any suburb. They were surrounded by oceans of wild desert. People would do dirt-biking and other off-road vehicle activity where they could get away with it. As a result the desert tortoises were in big danger.

We did not live there long enough to participate, but some folks we had met there had brought tortoises out of the wild desert and into their backyards. At the time all lots were separated by large cinder block walls. So the "property lines" were anchored fairly deeply, and the ground was fairly rocky. So it was rare for a tortoise to tunnel under the block walls and "escape" back to danger.

Now as you might figure, it was illegal to "kidnap" a tortoise out of the desert. That's California law. Maybe federal law too. So the people who rescued the tortoises were taking big chances. And yet, how could anyone prove that the current resident in a base house was the kidnapper?

The tortoises in the backyards of the on-base houses thrived. I watched one day as one ate dandelion flowers. Must've been quite a treat, as those did not grow wild in the desert! People would get together and bring their tortoises to visit other tortoise-helpers. I understand a few pairs even managed to breed. And there were no dirt bikes (and far fewer if any rattlesnakes!) around to kill off the eggs and young!

The experience taught me alot about how on the one hand, we can destroy habitats, while simultaneously on the other hand, we can inadvertently "protect" species into extinction. I agree that we have to understand what effects we are having, and we ought to disturb our companions' habitats as little as practicable. But, where we do disturb the balance in a big way, people ought to be free to experiment and figure out ways to compensate.

I am afraid to follow up and find out if the tortoise-helping practice is still going on at that base. A cynical part of me suspects that some "conscientious" commander has since opened up the base to sweeps by similarly conscientious state wildlife "managers," cleaning out all tortoises from the housing areas. With the result being that there are now fewer tortoises in that part of the world than ever.

Now on toads: I have captured a few that were in danger of being roadkill on my neighborhood streets. I have turned them loose in my backyard, and they seem to have adapted. I have done the same with anole lizards, and confirmed just this past week that they have adapted, seeing a 2" baby!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 11:22AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Toads used to be common here when I was a child but now we haven't seen them in years. I am working hard to make my yard a hospitable habitat for them but I blame the lack of toads on all the Chemlawn Companies so popular for the lawn in todays Suburbs.

I really wish I had them here again.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2002 at 4:09PM
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Beneficial nematodes might help with the ants, Judy. Someone mentioned horned toads, but these are endangered in many parts of the southwest and should be left alone. I used to play with them as a child in San Antonio. Now you won't find them there....habitat loss, etc? They consume those nice Red Harvester Ants, whose population is also dwindling, due to fire ants, habitat loss, insecticides, etc. What a shame. I'm old enough now to look back at my childhood, knowing the children of today won't experience many of the great species of wildlife I grew up with. Not to mention the plants that are disappearing.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2002 at 11:51PM
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azuredrake(z7 NC)

Hi, I just had to add that my husband and I keep and raise turtles, and it seems that they attract quite a few other critters. We have atleast three frogs and a few toads in their area. We've also seen a few ring neck snakes too.
They don't do much for the ants though! Because we have to put out food for the turtles the ants are quite attracted as well.

For Bluebird and anyone else....most turtles in pet stores are WILD buying from a pet store is no better then taking them from the wild yourself. IF you want turtles in a pond search for a REPUTABLE breeder, someone who can prove the breeding turtles are well cared for (not over cramped in small horrid living spaces) and that the eggs are properly incubated (most mass breeders will incubate at extremely high temps to get the eggs to hatch faster, which increases chances for abnormalities...think cooking the turtle). Because the *art* of raising and breeding turtles is fairly new (and still not very refined) all turtles of breeding stock are most likely wild caught, but breeders do the right thing by breeding, rather than catching large quantities of wild turtles and selling them to pet stores. Well atleast the good ones do! *grin*

Sorry if that is too off topic. My husband and I are huge advocates for turtles, proper housing, proper breeding, the whole nine yards, so I can't pass up an oppurtunity to get the word out.

I'm including a link to our turtle page, but at the moment it may be down as we are restructuring. Just incase anyone is really interested in how to take care of turtles.

Here is a link that might be useful: aileoNA turtles

    Bookmark   September 25, 2002 at 12:19PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I am afraid our local racoons would do in any turtles that would be in my small pond, just like they did in my pond fish!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2002 at 12:32PM
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I just had to post this, I have a bat house on the front of our garage and it attracts up to 75 bats during the summer months, the funny thing is the bat droppings end up on the driveway and I have discovered that the toads come out at night and clean up the mess the bats make each day. I could believe this but it is true. This has been going on for 2 years now.

Save every toad we can!!


    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 8:01PM
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    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 4:19PM
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Tisha(z5 NH)

Ha ha, great posts. A friend of mine was driving with his wife through a pondy area and came across a toad-on-the-road mating frenzy, so they stopped the car (and any others that came along) and tried to save as many as they could.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 3:39PM
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Toads hibernate so it would be hard to catch one right now. You could probably check pet stores they might have some.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 11:53AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I am putting in a "Woodland" border with shrubs for wildlife. I intend to mulch it heavily with fallen leaves, bags and bags of witch I have put aside to use for this project plus mulch my veggie garden.

Hopefully some toads might move in although there has not been toads here for years and years. I used to see them often when I was a kids but that was more years ago than I care to mention!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2002 at 3:51PM
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Tisha(z5 NH)

Last year there were hundreds (literally) of baby toads running all over the place in the spring. This year I saw maybe two. I wonder why.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2002 at 9:47AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I am still hopeful that some toads might move back into my yard in the spring. The problem is that they need to move here from somewhere and I am not sure that there are any around. I would buy the darn things if I could find native toads or tree frogs for sale!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 6:29PM
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newyorkrita, what's a woodland border please. thanks.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 7:47PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Yes, if spring ever arrives around here, it will be a woodland border. At least the start of one. Personally I think even if the shrubs are small, just the fact that there is a deep thick carpet of leaves, starts the right effect going.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2003 at 10:44PM
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When I was a child, one of my favorite critters was this tiny little toad. We'd see what seemed like millions of them near the church grounds and in our favorite park. "Please, please, mom, can we take a couple home? We'll set them loose in the backyard!" "No," my mother would say. "But everyone else's mom let's them!" we would proclaim. "No they don't," she would answer.

Well, maybe they did.
I still look for them in the places I used to go as a child. At my old church I see the children and wonder why none of them are crouched around puddles at the trees' edge, muddying their Sunday best like I used to do. I catch myself seeking out puddles in the park, puddles that are empty. I haven't seen the little toads in these places in a long time. The Houston Toad is now endangered.

Perhaps pesticides and other causes made them endangered? Surely this is true. I can attest that it is also true that none of these little toads survived to this day in my friends' parents backyards. Even the ones who lived in the country and didn't have lawns to spray. Even the ones who lived just a few streets over from the park. The separating of different toad colonies by roads is now listed as one of the causes for it's endangerment. Seperating individuals from the rest in order to keep them in one's own backyard could not have helped.

Please, PLEASE leave wildlife where they are. Even if it seems like there are a million of them. Even if they're only a toad.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houston Toad

    Bookmark   March 31, 2003 at 5:35PM
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rumplefrogskin(z3/4A Wisc.)

One very good thing that you can do to help out toads and frogs -- stop mowing your lawns. Long grass, while 'unsightly' to housing authorities and gated communities, are ideal conditions for the Frog Housing Authority. Not only are toads and frogs at the mercy of dry conditions without the long grass to keep their skins damp, they are constantly in danger of being chopped to bits by lawnmower blades.

And yes, my neighbors think I'm lazy since I don't mow obsessively -- what do they know? But I've got lots and lots of nice big fat toads. My favourite was Albert, a big red Eastern, who was as big as the palm of your hand when he would sit with his legs all under him. He got so used to my taking him away from the dog and moving him out of the way of foot traffic that he became a lawn pet.

The dog got used to him too and stopped poking him with her nose or pawing at him. I found them sitting side by side out on the walk one night -- the dog was watching for deer and bunnies, and the toad was watching for bugs.

(no, we don't have any neighborhood covenants about mandatory lawn mowing here. Hallelujah!!)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2003 at 1:43AM
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honeybeegirl(z6 PA)

Hello, everyone. I've been reading the forums for a while now, but I just joined in order to reply to this post.

Please, please, please do not remove wild animals (or plants) from their natural habitats. It is nice to have toads, frogs, and snakes in our own habitats, but putting them there ourselves is just tinkering with nature.

In addition, wild-caught turtles do not make good pets for children. They live short, often unhealthy lives. In addition, turtles kept outside will often try to find their way back home and many will be killed along the way. Encourage kids to appreciate wildlife in its natural environment.

The decline of the Eastern Box Turtle is linked mainly to the fact that people for decades have just picked them up and taken them home. What was once a common species is now in trouble in many areas.

We should work harder to naturally attract these interesting creatures to our habitats instead of placing them there ourselves.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2003 at 3:19PM
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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

I discovered one toad in the hollow of our tree, and was thrilled. The next year he (she?) had a friend with him (her?). Holy cow, was I ROYALLY thrilled! I made a toad house out of clay, but they naturally found their own home(s). I laid shallow bowls of water on the ground for them. They came to the garden by themselves. Those are all very good points, honeybeegirl. I would like to learn more about what I can do (short of building a pond) for my little buddies. I don't know about hundreds, but I think having a couple of them are great! And I'm paranoid about using something that will harm them.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2003 at 12:43AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Well, in spite of my efforts by planting all sorts of wildlife shrubs in a nice border that I made seem like a woodland to me by pileing lots of bagged leaves saved from curbside collections last Fall, no toads or frogs showed up. I do have a small pond in the 'woodland' so there is water. I am bumbed out!!! :-((((

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 2:42PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Saw nice fat toads wandering around at a local East End Long Island Nursery yeasterday. If I had had any thing to put them in and transport them home, I would have been trying to catch them.

The place also has a small pond and that had frogs. I was so envious since I have neither toads or frogs!!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2003 at 10:41AM
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I have noticed 2 toads in my yard this year YEAH:)! About 5-6 years ago I had some 20 toads hopping around all over the place but they all disappeared within a year or two. I'd like to keep my toads around this year. I have ample shelter for them but no water ponds. I am more than willing to put out saucers as suggested but wonder about evaporation. Can I put out a deep dish that will only need to be watered once a day (or preferably every other day)? Also, can I use mosquito ducks in the water without harming the toads?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2003 at 4:35PM
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Nell Jean

A toad likes to burrow into the plastic pots of cuttings I put out to root on the carport. He leaps out with a look of pure disgust when I water the cuttings. If you're hoping to make toads happy, you might try a little bowl of loose potting soil and vermiculite, kept damp.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2003 at 12:53AM
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peasant(z8b san antonio)

Hey that's just where I found a toad last week!! I was blaming the neighbor dogs for trampling my little 4 in pots/seedlings on the front patio and lo and behold, a toad popped out when I was watering. I tried to transplant him to the backyard (many, many slugs back there) where I'd set up a little 'toad hut' and of course he was right back on the front patio in the little 4 in. pot the next night. :)

I've been wondering what was up with my gardenia (also on the front patio) lately and tonight a toad popped out. Thinking he didn't look like the same little guy, I immediately ran to the other toad's (okay, his name is Henry) usual hangout and there he was. Two toads! Yay!

I put out a little pool in the hopes they are opposite sex toads and will do what comes naturally. My husband thinks I'm insane, especially when I insisted he walk out through the back door so as not to disturb the toads because I don't want them to leave.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2003 at 10:08PM
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(just a side note from an addictions counsellor)

actually nicotine is not the cancer causing part of smoking and tobacco. Nicotine is the addictive stimulant that keeps people hooked. The cancer causing properties come from the other chemicals and from the burning. Inhaled cigarette smoke contains over 5,000 chemicals, many of which are cancer-producing, such as tars and carbon monoxide.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2003 at 1:41AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Still no frogs or toads here for me. Very dissapointing considering the ammount of work I have put into making the yard much more attractive to wildlife.

Everyone tells me that if I have a backyard pond (doesn't have to be big) I will get frogs. I did at my old house in the same town I like in now. A friend next town over has frogs move in everyyear.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 12:56PM
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jancarkner(Ottawa CAN)

Newyorkrita, have you tried brush piles? To me, a real wildlife garden has to include water and brush, with long grass around. We have several (farm-type) ponds, and thousands of frogs and toads. I just mow walking paths through our fields (mower on high so nobody gets chopped!) and I'm always seeing toads and frogs when I walk. I dislike tidy gardens; even in the city (or especially in the city!) people should leave a part of their yard "messy".

    Bookmark   September 1, 2003 at 6:46PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

There is no place in my yard that I could think to put a brush pile that would look reasonably ok. Besides, I am afraid that the rats would only move in and use it for a home. I have never had a problem with rats in the yard until this year. But this year lots of rodent problems.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2003 at 8:21PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Anyway, I am thinking of planting more native warm season grasses next year. Made a start on them this year by planting some Little Bluestem, Indian grass and Switchgrass. Maybe that will bring in some toads. I can only hope.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2003 at 1:39PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Ok, I got VERY creative and did manage to get a brush pile going last Fall. It was a matter of 'thinking outside the box' as one would say. I see lots of birds go in there so I know it's already popular.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 1:46PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

No frogs or toads yet.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 10:59AM
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sakurako77(5b CT)

Last Saturday my neighbor was kindly rototilling an area where I'm trying to improvise a raised vegetable bed by throwing all the grass-infested topsoil into a big pile. (I'm not impressed by lawn!) There's lots of tall grass in that corner left from doing the same thing last year. As the earth shuddered, I saw a lovely little brown toad leap out. I'd seen it in the same part of my yard last fall, so built several stone toad houses there in hopes he would stay for the winter. I gently persuaded him to move to a very safe fern garden where no one is allowed to mow and hoped he would find two more toad houses I'd built there. There are lots of slugs, of course, because I've been growing ferns there for a year. Last night when I was watering the ferns, I saw quite a big hole dug down into the mulch at the back of a fern bed I made last fall by dumping about a foot of leaves over some rescued onoclea. The hole was headed down towards the bottom of the chimney. Could it have been made by the toad? Should I leave a flat container for water nearby? I thought that toads don't drink water and since I water the ferns every other night, the ground should stay fairly damp.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2004 at 10:56AM
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I'm so happy I found this posting. Found a toad the other day in one of my plantings. I know now to build him a stone house and I've already put out a great big terra cotta pot bottom "pond". I had a huge toad when I first moved in 26 years ago, and he lived in my rock garden for years, and finally died of old age. I'm so happy to have a successor! I'm in New Mexico, too, Juana.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 11:44AM
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ALLIEBEAN(6b Philadelphia)

Toads like to 'soak' so having water available will really encourage them. They also mate in water so having a small pond will really increase the chances of having resident toads, especially if the pond is surrounded by plants and has a shady side. I find that their favorite hiding place is under lumber so I always keep a few old boards around - they are easily hidden behind plants. I also lay sawn off tree trunks in my tiny 'woodland' garden. They are popular with both toads and chipmunks. (And sections of tree trunks placed upright make great bird bath bases). I have found that the greatest requirement of toads however, after water, is an area of garden that is undisturbed. I find more toads in my fruit garden and 'woodland' garden than anywhere else, and these are the two areas that receive the least attention.
A word of warning about Pyola (and any Pyrethrin based spray) which many gardeners are now using because it is being advertised as organic - it is organic but it it also highly toxic to reptiles and amphibeans - toads, frogs, turtles etc.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2004 at 11:54PM
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Just stumbled onto this thread and since I love the toads, I had to read through the entire postings. Last year I had a few toads and lots of slugs! This year there are lots of toads and so far I have only seen a few slugs. I have always gardened organically here ( 7 years ) and have a messy brush pile hidden behind a line of shrubs. I have fed the birds and keep a bird bath going. I left a few clay flower pots out last winter and one that is a nice mossy green now has a large part of the rim brokened out. So I turned it upside down and placed it near the messy side of the garden and found a cute toad under it a few days ago! With the tiny slugs that were there too, I guess it was a B&B for the toad! Now I have to put out a saucer of water for them. I also have one toad that likes to rest in the pot that has my new clematis is growing in until it is big enough to plant out into the garden. It takes me longer to mow since I am on the watch not to hurt any of the toads. Sure don't plan to hire anyone else to mow, don't think I would find anyone willing to be as careful. Long live the toads!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 2:02PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Don't want this great thread about Toads in the garden to drop off the forum just yet. Started in July 2000, can you believe it?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 1:24PM
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TexasTina(Z8b San Antonio)

Joy in Iowa? Are you still here? Is your toad still with you? Are there new baby and grandbaby toads?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 12:09AM
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plays_in_the_dirt(SW Georgia/Z 8)

Won't the toad leave. How ya going to keep him where you want him??

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 9:12AM
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I found a toad today sitting on the patio of an outdoor cafe. Since it was in a very urban area surrounded by parking lots and busy streets with hardly a green thing in sight, I can't imagine where he came from. I scooped him into a take out container and brought him to my yard which is full of wild grasses, succulents and fruit trees, all growing naturalistically. No lawn, no mowing, no chemicals,lots of slugs to eat and places to hide, so I'm hoping he likes it here. It is the first toad I've seen in 15 years in LA, so it seemed like such a treasure and I couldn't imagine how he could survive very long where he was without being stepped on or run over by a car so...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 5:29PM
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hannah(5 south IN)

Wildlife is just that...wildlife.
We should all learn to enjoy whatever graces us and our properties...but in my opinion...and it's only my opinion, we should let the critters alone.
I know this analogy is totally goofy, but suppose some foreign beings, if they should exist, came and took you away to their 'land' way, way out in the solar system...LMAO...could you survive happily? Would you? I doubt it.

Cherish what's already on your property...we don't all have the same creatures in our yards, but it sure is great to read about those that we don't have, flourishing in someone else's.

I never had frogs until I put in a small pond...always wanted them, but couldn't bring myself to snatch up a couple from various ponds in the area.
Guess what...they came to my home all by themselves!

If you build it, they will come. LOL

*there are 4 frogs here...see'm? âº

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 12:58PM
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Be careful what you wish for, I have a Chocolate Lab that almost died from a toad. I have tried to catch in a net and move every toad that I find around the house after being up with a very sick dog for 24 hours. These guys are very poisonous to our pets so donÂt let your dog or cat catch one. I donÂt want anyone to loose a family pet like I almost did. Sophiamae.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 9:41PM
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I had never thought about my dog getting poisoned by a toad. That is interesting. Thanks for bringing that up.

Can you believe this thread is more than 5 years old?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 4:25PM
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hibrick(Z8 HoustonTX)

Toads eat bugs, and bugs are attracted to light, water, and hiding places. Toads, and most other frogs, also mate & lay eggs in water. The water needs to be a pond, ditch, or deep puddle, with a going mini-ecology, so that the tadpoles have something to eat & places to hide. (A saucer of water is not sufficient.)

I can nearly always find a toad or two at night, waiting for dinner under the porch light. Thick, fine foliage is only a few inches away, and the automatic sprinklers keep the ground moist for both the frogs and bugs. The toads just wait for a flying bug to land on the foliage or the concrete below the light.

Put in a small garden pond with a little rock waterfall, and let it run for a summer. Plant ferns or other fine foliage around it. Pretty soon you'll find that birds have brought frog eggs (stuck to their feet), and you'll get tadpoles.. and frogs.

The waterfall provides aeration that is often absent in a still garden pond. Aeration is the key to beneficial organisms starting a viable ecology in the pond. Algae growing on the waterfall rocks also provides feed to microorganisms that feed the tapoles, as well as snails & other pond critters.

Of course, the perfect environment for frogs is also the perfect environment for snakes.. who feed on frogs. Most snakes are very reclusive, and you may have a half-dozen small snakes in your yard and go for years without ever seeing one. (I haven't mentioned that to my wife.) Snakes also eat small rodents, which is a feature that keeps them on my "good critter" list.

On warm summer nights in the south, following a rain, toads and other small frogs go noisily berserk in their mating frenzies. Drive out into the country after a rain has followed a couple-of-weeks dry spell. The ditches will be full of frogs and long sticky strings of frog eggs.

The country-ditch ecology will not miss a zip-bag full of eggs, from among the billions of frog eggs that are laid in a damp summer night. (Wear high boots, and make lots of noise walking.. snakes will hear you coming & nearly all snakes will leave the immediate area if they "hear" a human.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lone Star Chapter, American Hibiscus Society

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Actually toads and frogs are slowly disappearing from planet earth. It seems a combination of warmer air temperatures, droughts and of course habitat distruction are all working together to reduce the numbers of frog species. Some species have disappeared and others are on the endangered species list.
I would be reluctant to transplant any frogs or toads from their native habitat.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 10:27AM
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I was happy to see a toad move into my garden this past summer, nesting under the hay mulch. It was also suprising later to see a snake show up, sunning itself it the paths. Sadly, when the snake moved on, the toad was gone.

A few small frogs moved into the garden later in the summer and it was always a surprise to reach down to pull a weed and have a frog jump out.

Four and a half years and this thread is still going strong!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 10:14AM
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I grew up in Fallon, Nevada, lived in Redding, Calif. for 20 years, and recently have lived in Springfield, Oregon for the past 5 years. All three areas have supported either bull frogs, tree frogs, or toads. Bullfrogs lived in a large drainage ditch behind my house in Nevada and I spent many summers catching them. The toads successfully bred and lived around my home in Calilf, and treefrogs have infested the front and backyards of my Springfield home. The key to their survival is some undisturbed areas to live, and some insect prey items. The treefrog's favorite perch is the front of the house where the porch light shines on the siding and top of the garbage can. The bugs are attracted to the light, fly in, land on something, and frogs hop over and snap them up. A toad burrowed under a large potted plant sitting on the ground at my Calif. home. If you a lots of lush plantings and water a lot, and don't use any chemical sprays, you probably have a lot of hidden creatures; sit quietly in the yard at dusk and see what crawls out of hiding.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 4:20PM
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I have about 1/2 an acre that I can use on the TX Gulf Coast. We saw many toads this year, more than in the past sev. years, but none now ? How do I keep predetors away, ensure a food supply and ensure breeding ? I can install a few bowels of water, or more, install topsoil or sand, and do something to bring more mosquitos in. The area has some tall grass that I sometimes mow. My area has a lot of cats but I have never, perhaps naively, seen cats eat toads. I have seen sea birds eat them. I want to do some good and need advise from those who know. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 5:33AM
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Bacliff, after 2 years the toads showed up at our place. We did a few things different that I believe invited them in. First we rototilled the back yard, planted buffalo grass and blue grama from seed, and let it grow tall. Then we put in some beds with lots of small perennials and ground covers like salvia coccinea and mealy blue sage. That keep the ground shaded and moist which probably makes it easier for them to burrow in. For some reason they always seem to be lurking in the salvia coccinea and prairie verbena. Maybe they snatch up bees that visit the flowers. We also had lots of rain last year (that was probably the biggest factor), stopped using round up, and went organic.
I've noticed their favorite hiding place or home is half empty bags of texas greensand, lavasand, mulch, or compost surrounded by tall grass. Whenever I go to get a cup of either a toad usually pops out. We have no water features or ponds yet they seem perfectly happy and healthy from regular sprinkler watering.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 1:26AM
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pugwinkle(Ontario, Canada)

I realize this is a very old thread but it's been very interesting reading about everyone and their experiences with the toads in their gardens. I'm hoping to get some toads moving into my garden this year. I have just placed a toad abode in the corner of my garden and have placed a small pond nearby. I will be going to get a nice little solar light to have close to his house so all the little bugs will come to him and he can eat to his hearts content. How are all your toads doing?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:35PM
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