Tucking in the Toads

Published on September 29th 2018
Few garden visitors are as helpful as frogs and toads. They relish eating up our pests, even slugs. They are still visible in the garden until October, after which time they’ll be looking to hibernate. Help them out and save yourself the cost and pain of pest control the following spring.
If you have a nature pond, then you needn’t do any more. The bottom of the pond will most likely have a thick layer of debris for the amphibians to rest in. Curiously, our native amphibians can ‘breathe’ underwater by absorbing oxygen through their skin.
You may not have a pond, but frogs and toads don’t need to live in water once they’ve reached adulthood. Log piles offer a beacon of hope for overwintering wildlife and, as well as amphibians, you’ll find hedgehogs and many useful insects will also use the pile.
It goes without saying that a compost heap will also attract amphibians during winter. You may also find the heap playing host to slow worms, which are slug-eating machines, so the perfect garden inhabitant.
Our native species are not able to tolerate freezing (though there is an American species which can!), so it is vital that you do not clean away your log pile or carry out pond maintenance until after late February/March by which time they’ll be active again, prompted by temperatures above 5C. In fact, they come back with quite a bang, often spawning prolifically with eggs appearing overnight as if by magic. Now hop to it!
Header image of autumnal toad curtesy of @dani one of our wonderful Candide community.

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