The movement caught my eye as something lumbered over the blades of tall grass felled by the orange whips of the weed eater. The release of the weed eater handle stopped the engine from it’s continued path for this was a creature I was happy to see.
There was my old buddy, Mr. Toad. It was my first sighting of him this year. He, and I suspect his other friends and relatives live in the garden where they keep vigil on unwanted insects preying on the succulent new growth of emerging leaves. Their habitat is relatively simple or so it seems as nothing special is done to keep them here year after year.
It seems toads have a very long life span – 30 to 40 years! They are carnivores supping, as mentioned above on a documented ten thousand insects in one season per toad! Larger ones, as seen with Mr. Toad, will also ingest small rodents and snakes. Though toads don’t yearn for water as do smooth skinned frogs, I have seen them frequent the pond for a quick dip on occasion. They lay their eggs in fresh water and can only attribute that the pond is utilized also for the purpose of creating a future generation of toads to come.
Insecticides and herbicides play havoc with the bumpy but sensitive skin of the toad. Their presence here is an indicator that the environment is healthy. While I destroyed the grasses where Mr. Toad took refuge, the piles of twigs and hand pulled weeds waiting to decompose made for his perfect shady habitat, though a broken pot will work just as well. Come to think of it, he or one of his relations, have poked their head out of the open end of a 4 inch drain pipe feeding the rain garden!
Aside from the delight of seeing this amphibious creature lurking about and knowing of his beneficial properties, I would be remiss if not sharing the joy found of Mr. Toad’s evening croaking out a lullaby that gives any gardener the sense that all is well.
Consider creating such a habitat for a toad. Build it, and they will come!
Have a great weekend.