Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lizzie's toad house

Yesterday Lizzie and I found a little American toad hopping around in our grass. Never having seen a real live toad Lizzie was pretty excited, and so was I! We immediately caught it up and transferred it to the carrot patch where I've seen numerous garden snails and other pests that make tasty toad-treats. I was hoping the toad would make a home of my organic garden, and sure enough he was still there this morning.

"Let's make a toad house!" I said to Lizzie and "YEAH!" was her immediate enthusiastic reply. I rummaged through a pile of old clay pots, found a hammer and we smashed a side off each pot and had instant toad homes.

You can buy toad homes online and spend around $20 for each house. Or you can knock a small opening in the side of a clay pot, or even stack a few bricks to make a small shelter. Toads will be attracted to the shelter, use it during the day and claim it as their territory coming back year after year. Each night one toad can eat up to 100 slugs, grubs, grasshoppers, tomato beetles, cutworms...anything you don't want eating your garden. The tadpoles also eat mosquito larvae! And the average adult toad can live for nearly a decade, that's a nice family pet you don't have to feed or take for walks.

So give your toads some houses and enjoy their stay in your garden. Lizzie's already moved the houses around three times this morning and can't go a minute without looking to see if anyone moved in. I'm trying to explain to her that she should leave them alone so the toads don't get afraid and move out. But you try explaining that to a curious two-year-old.


  1. We don't see many toads in my part of the country; however, with this info, I plan to relocate the next one I find to my garden(s) along with making sure there's water and housing close by.

    BTW, your daughter is precious.

  2. This is so wonderful, she's learning by doing. And if they leave because she won't keep the homes alone, she'll learn that way, too. I love this little story, Kate.

  3. Kate,

    How wonderful to hear all your news! I wish I could come and eat out of your garden - dirt and all too. And I do love those toad houses. I shall get the messmonsters onto it right away tomorrow.

  4. i'm sure you know toad populations fluctuate from year to year. memorable was "the summer of the toad" - we could not walk outside at night w/o a flashlight to make sure we did not step on any....that was the year we had two large bullsnakes living around us.
    the past couple of years, less toads and no snakes....

    you two might find they like their backs & bellies Very gently scratched when they get used to you....

  5. Lynn: happy toad hunting! maybe you can find a really big one to deal with whatever is eating your melons :)

    DJan: she checked all the homes again this morning, but left them where they were at least...coming soon: the story of project butterfly, I think you'll like this story too!

    Ange: I wish you could come eat out of my garden too! and have your messmonsters come play with Lizzie!

    Deborah: wow! Summer of the Toad! That sounds like a horror movie! especially with the two fat and happy snakes. I can't wait to catch another one to see about the belly scratching! that sounds like fun!!

  6. Hi! Thought I'd drop in to say hello and see how everything is in your world. I hope good!! Miss your posts and seeing you over at Reduce Footprints. Take Care!

  7. I LOVE this post! Was just looking for ways to relocate a toad that comes back to my yard every year to the same spot. However, this year is different since I have a "feral" cat that lives on our property (no worries, we trapped her and had her spayed and vaccinated). Anyway, she's discovered my toad's hiding spot and stalks him now. Eeek. So this gave me some great ideas on "houses". Thank you!

  8. Thanks KAllred! I hope your toad returns and sticks around. Your comment just reminded me that I haven't seen our resident toad yet this spring. We have a lot of outdoor cats in our neighborhood too and I'm glad my kids already put the toad houses out. Good luck with your toad!

  9. I love this idea! I didn't know toads did such good work, but I'm doing to create a house for it today, because I know I've seen them in the back yard before.


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