MAKING A GARDEN TOAD HABITAT TUTORIAL

MAKING A GARDEN TOAD HABITAT

 In the last couple Spring seasons I have made articles about inviting "garden friends" into our yards, one specifically for song birds, common birds found in many areas that help our gardening efforts and bring enjoyment.  I have also mentioned the gardeners greatest friend, the garden toad.  In my part of the country they are simply called Western Toads, and have a bumpy textured skin with spots and mottling. Their color changes to suit their environment. In the eastern US there is the American Toad. The habits of the toads are very much alike.  Toads hibernate in the winter. They dig down quite deep with their hind feet.  They come out in Spring, finding a larger body of water to lay eggs in and then return to the habitat they call home. Toads live in one place their whole life, if it provides for their needs. They are long lived, have been documented to be over 30 yrs old.
 

This is a larger toad and bird habitat I built in my backyard this year. It is the nicest place in the yard to be & many wild toads have come to visit or stay in the  yard. There is an herb

There is an herb garden and a vegetable garden just to the left of this picture. It helps to invite toads frogs and birds if there is a lot of vegetation for them to forage in. 



This a young little toad with nice markings, who was the first one to come to the big Toad Pond after I made it. My experience is that: BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!
Over 25 yrs of building toad habitats, one or many have always showed up. I have lived in rural settings, which helps, but toads will be found in surprising places.

 I recently did a Garden Toad Habitat Workshop at Spring Hill Nursery.  This was so wonderful and well received. At the nursery everything that was needed
for the project was also available.
In time I plan to have a more complete tutorial on building your own Toad Hall. There is a little bit about it at the end of this tutorial.

These are the  things that make up a Toad Habitat. 1. A TOAD "POND" Made from a pot tray.   2. A TOAD HOUSE  3. VEGETATION .  Nice additions are: Stones, solar lights, and decorative plants.


The next step is to pick a location.  We picked a shady area under a large Cedar tree. Behind the picket fence, which the toads cross through, is a large flower bed and then the vegetable garden, this is where they will hunt for insects at night. The choice of location should be a quiet place, out of the main traffic flow and somewhat protected. Shade plants, tree root wads, large rocks are things that toads like. They are most active at night, but will also be out and about in the daytime often. The cold makes them much less active.  In nature they live in holes in the ground, under logs or under rocks.

Once the place is picked, trace a circle where the little soaking pond will go. Toads need this soaking pond or dish to hydrate. They do not drink through their mouth, they soak moisture into their bodies only by sitting in water. Toads do not "live " in water like most frogs, toads live mostly out of the water, but must have a place to hydrate themselves on a regular basis.  The shallow toad pond is the most important part of keeping a toad in the garden or yard.

Dig out the place where the little toad soaking pond is going.

Settle the little pond into the ground so it is level and does not move. This type of pot tray that is about 3 " deep is readily found at garden centers or hardware stores. Clay pot trays will also work, or any large shallow container.

Here flat rocks are set around the dish to help hold it in place and look attractive in the garden. Easy access to the little pond is important to keep in mind while making the toad area.

Now the home made Toad house is settled into the ground. A top coat of soil amendment used as mulch as been added.  This will help keep the ground moist and suppress weeds. 

Adding as much plants and moss as you would like completes the area. More can also be added later. Some rocks have been put inside the pond so that the toads will not have any trouble getting out.  Getting in and out of any pond by the toads or frogs that come to visit always has to be considered if the pond has straight sides. As the water drops , they can get trapped in the pond. 




This is the finished area that will continue to grow and fill in

About 3 days after we made this area, one of the toads in the yard came to visit. This is Jed. We name all our toads.

More rocks and gravel , or solar light, which will attract flying insects which the toads will eat, have been added. Also some Gnome came to admire the new area!
With the materials at hand this little project only took a couple hours. Inviting toads to the yard is a generous and enjoyable thing to do.  Toad habitat has disappeared like wildlife habitat everywhere. Their wetlands and tree piles are taken by human development. Toad populations have decreased for many reasons and by creating habitats for them it helps their species survive as well as immensely helping control insect pests.  

This is an older toad that came to a place I had made in the front flower bed. This is in full sun all day, long and narrow across the south side of the house. I put the small soak dish and a house in the midst of the flower.
A toad was here all summer and at night would take the same path over to the large pond and bigger garden and hang out with the other toads.

This is a young toad who likes it in  the creeping veronica, Toads, despite old wives tales, are completely harmless and do not cause warts!!  They have glands on the side of their heads that has a toxic substance, which is their only defense against predation.  Dogs sometimes want to bother them but are not that interested usually. I have taught my dogs to leave them alone.  The toads get use to the people around them and will learn to eat from your hand and even come to beckoning, such as a bell by the pond. One toad can eat several thousand insects a month, including snails, slugs, earwigs, wasps, flies, squash beetles, mosquitos and all those bugs we do not like!


Making a toad house is easy. The classic toad house is a flower pot turned upside down.  A door can be cut in it or a hole dug under the lip for the toad to crawl in.
My first toad houses , which I made in the 70's, were upside down Terra Cotta pots with a chink knocked out.  Over the years I began making more elaborate ones out of wood, metal and stone.  This is a biodegradable flower pot made from rice hulls and bamboo waste, a metal 2qt. funnel (with it's spout rolled down ) and little sign. 

Here it is assembled and in the garden. The faux metal finish was added to the pot and funnel and the doorway cut with a sabre saw. This house took about an hour to make.


The following season I took the same house shown being made above and added creek stones around the lower part of the house.  This will hold up better with water and weather. Sometimes the paint does not stick well to the plastic even if  you the surface is roughed up.  The rocks , put on with construction adhesive, have lasted for  many years, the square house is over 10 yrs old.

This is Stella, the biggest oldest toad in the yard. She liked this rock bowl and spent many afternoons here. Right next to my outdoor table where I worked on my projects. I believe she is smiling :)



All content of this post is protected by my copyright and may not be copied, transferred or used with out my permission. Thank you.   Copyright 2015 by Lucinda Claire Macy

78 comments:

  1. Toads and frogs are some of my favorite animals. I really love your toad habitat.

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  2. Thank you Amy! They are mine too!

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    1. I just found a toad in my tiny patch of a garden and I immediately fell in love with her/ him. She looked dry so I poured water over her back, she didn't move much, so I went into my apt. Got more water and when I got back outside, my toad didappeared. Where could she be?
      P.S. By the way, I love your post and pics and your adorable toad homes. Do you sell them?

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  3. This was such a fun project! Seeing the first toad enjoying the habitat was very rewarding! Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone! Toads have become a family tradition!

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  4. These are amazing! Where did you find the tiny solar lights? Thanks, I'm going to dig up some materials to make some toad homes! :)

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    1. Hi Robin, the little solar lights are pretty easy to find, I just got some like this at Walmart for $1.29
      I guess Walmart is good for some things!
      The toads like them as they attract bugs!

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  5. Thank you for these tips. I have found two toads sheltering under the plastic cover of my garden table. I shall now make a toad habitat and invite them to move in!
    Jo

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  6. What a wonderful article. I have a toad in my yard and I am looking for ways to make it feel at home. I'd like to install a pond. How should I maintain it? Should I just hose it out periodically or do I need to take it out of the ground and clean it somehow?

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  7. Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by :)
    You do not need to worry about cleaning the pond. Especially for toads, they like things pretty grown in and some algae. They are not fussy about clean water! I am giving you another link I have for my Toad blog-
    http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/
    Right now where I am living there are not toads :(
    It is too much in town. I really miss them! There is a tame blue jay that comes in my shop and visits, and I guess that will have to do !
    thanks for commenting!

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  8. Hi! Awesome!..to find this, I have loved toads since I was a little girl, always excited to find one and then they were my pets for a little bit and then I'd let them go. Now, i noticed for a few years they disappeared and figured out it was cuz we got rid of our big yard light. But found your info. and just found a pretty dark almost black one, I think she's female Cuz she wasn't humming n shaking...how can you tell if they are male or female?

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  9. Hi Michelle- I am so glad you like toads too! Adult female toads are much larger than the male toads. The male toads, besides being a smaller , have a blockier head, wider bone structure in the head. They also are the ones that make the beautiful chortle or trilling noise at night, they do not croak like frogs. In the Spring they make these melodic calls to attract the females. They are both very friendly to have around!

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  10. Awesome garden! I will definitely build something similar in my little garden in the backyard! I have a question - I found a little tiny toad in the middle of our living room last Sunday (Feb.16th!!!!) (lucky for him, I was the first to do this, not our cat). I put him into the plastic box, made some holes on the top, added some leaves from my houseplants. What to do now? He definitely was hibernating in one of the big plant pots that stayed outside until October. I put the box in the garage, it is pretty cold there now, but the frog is not sleeping - probably it is too noisy for him when we pass by, or the light might disturb him. I gave tim apple pieces, he was not eating, just sitting quiet and looking at me with his sad, sad eyes! What should I do? Feed him? Leave him alone?

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  11. :) thank you for inspiration, we have a new small stone hause for frog and...also big frog. jupiiiiii

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  12. Hello, I am thinking of having a small water garden to attract frogs and toads, but do not have the space for the water gardens that require pumps to keep the water clean. If I use the clay saucer on the ground, along with rocks, plants and flat rocks, how do I keep the water from getting slimy and putrid? I want to be able to create a habitat that will be used, but don't want it to become stagnant, dirty and smelly. How do you keep your water so clean?

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    1. Hi Wanda! Thanks for stopping by :-)
      The shallow dishes are pretty easy to keep clean just be routinely flushing with the hose or a watering can. They only hold a quart or so of water. If algea forms, I just take a pot scrubber brush and take it right off, very easy to do. A little bit is Okay, the toads actually like warmish water and also do not mind muck...though I like it clean, There is always the possibility of mosquito larvae ending up in any water, and flushing it regularly takes care of that as well. Toads do not need much water, though if there is a little pond they will "hang out ' there on hot days. I hope you have fun with your project!

      Lucinda

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  13. I'm so happy I found you. I have a screen enclosed court yard. When potting my garden this spring I found a small toad he seems to have a broken foot , it drags an it's crooked. Anyway I thought it must be trapped so I scooped it up an put it outside. For the next few days I noticed it at my gate, so I left the gate ajar an he moved back in. I guess this was his home. I don't no what to do to make it more toad friendly. I have tiny stone floor so I can't dig, can you tell me how to do it an are there enough insects, I find lots if snails in the containers but they are really high and I use poison in them as they my plants. Thank you for any help you can offer. Barbara

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    1. Hello ! Thanks for stopping by :) , also you can visit my GardenToadWatch blog if you like: http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/
      I just did a "Making a Toad Habitat " at our local nursery this weekend! I do have a couple of ideas. Your area sounds quite small, but there is always someway to make it work. He must find enough bugs in there to feed himself! The most important thing of all for the toad is to have a shallow dish, like a pot tray, ceramic or plastic, that he can sit in to soak up water. As weather gets warmer this becomes more and more important. Since you cannot set a dish or tray into the ground, you can still put it in a corner and use flattish rocks to build a ramp or steps for the toad to get in the water. If it is more than an inch or two deep,it also needs a rock to step on to get out. Pieces of wood could also work, or a piece or two of ceramic tile could also work. It would also be nice to provide the toad a shelter, a house of somekind. There are ones available to buy. You would need to make sure the opening is adequately large for him to go into. You easily also use a clay pot turned upside down and then put a rock or something under the edge to lift it high enough to go under.
      Toads love to eat snails. They also eat slugs, earwigs, flies , mosquitos, wasps and yellow jackets and ants. And spiders. If you could change your routine, I would ask that you try something else than the snail poison, because this would harm or kill the toad. Putting salt on snails and slugs will kill them , or maybe knocking them down to the ground where the toad can find them. Does this little guy( or girl) have a white or cream stripe down the back? This is the sure way to tell it is a toad. Pacific Chorus frogs will also live in patios and yards like that.
      I have seen and known several toads with an injured foot. Usually it has gotten stepped on. As long as it is healed over and is not an open wound, they can live alright. It is nice that the toad has a safe place to live, If I can help any more let me know. You could send me a picture of the patio and I could be more specific about what to do , or do a sketch so it is more clear. Thank you for writing,
      Lucinda

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  14. Hi Lucinda! Thank you so much for all your great information. So glad to have found your site. We have a small enclosed patio area, its definitely big enough to make a small toad garden! I love the pictures you provided, and all the great information. We have toads were we live in Dallas. Tonight on one section I planted some ground cover, I noticed a small toad where it was wet, it got me thinking. I did end up putting out the very bottom of an old planter barrel. Its shallow enough, and for tonight it gives them something, until I can work on the toad garden. I love it! Thank you so much. I love what you've done to your garden.

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    1. So delighted to hear this! Thank you so much for stopping by and also for commenting :-) Please do not hesitate to contact me for questions of any kind. Keeping toads happy is nice and simple and the return is much fewer pests in the yard! Thank you again, Lucinda

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  15. Thanks Lucinda, I do have a question about keeping the water mosquito free. I thought about using a small pump, what do you recommend? Any tips, suggestions is welcomed. Thanks for your help! :)

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  16. The course of action to keep out mosquito larvae depends a lot on the size of the "pond" you are working with. Containers that are small, such as clay dishes, birdbaths set in the ground, or even the plastic barrel liners, I flood over to wash out any larvae. I generally have plants or ground covers combined with some flat stones around the toad pond or dish set in the ground, so this "flooding over" of water acts to water the surrounding area. If flooding over makes too big a mess, maybe consider something like a "wok" that has two handles and you could lift it and empty it an appropriate place, set back in its place in the ground and refill it. For larger ponds that are not practical to overflow and clean out the water that way, I have often used mosquito fish. Mosquito fish are tiny fish that just eat mosquito larvae. They are not a pest or intrusive in anyway. I would get mine from the county mosquito abatement program and a man would bring a bucket of them to my house. They are an inch or less long.
    Other than that, pond shops do have little pellets or balls that you put in the water that are suppose to kill the mosquito larvae but be harmless to other things. I have not tried these and would want to make sure they do not harm amphibians. I also have always used large sieves and just scooped the larvae out as needed, as they like to "sun themeselves" floating in a group on the waters surface. So these are some of my ideas and I hope maybe one of them will work for you. :-)

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  17. Lucinda, thanks for the practical advice. I'm going small, and learn as I go, maybe someday I'll do a bigger pond, for now, I'm going small. How you clean it makes total sense. Sorta like cleaning out your bird bath every few days. That is easy to do! I love the idea about the using the wok. My only concern is it rusting. I do have a wok that I'm not using. Its a basic carbon steel wok, which will rust. I'll find something small. Good weekend project to do! I love your blog and the pictures, you've done a really nice job. Keep up the good work, and thank you for your tutorial. It was exactly what I was looking for. Take care! :)

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    1. Yes, I thought you were going small and just cleaning out the water would be a simple solution. I think you are right about rust with steel, unless it was stainless. The reason I like the wok shape is that since there is not a straight sided wall, I think they could climb out better. You could put rocks in the middle for sunning themselves. They really like to sit half in and half out of the water , so I always add some rocks, also, that way birds can take a bath. If you can take a picture and send me, I would love it! lucindamacy@gmail.com Have fun! I am excited for both you and the toads.

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  18. I certainly will send pictures. We moved into a townhouse late last summer, and this year, I'm figuring out the little back yard. One side of the yard is 6 x 10.5, with one spot being like an alcove. It was dirt and weeds, I cleared it all out, pulled the weeds, and planted ground cover, Asiatic jasmine. The alcove part will be for the toads. I'm going to lay some brick to stop the ground cover, and keep it trimmed. I bought a medium clay basin. That is my first toad pond. The toads are there, I've been watering every night, and I can hear them! Spring peepers. :) I'll send pictures when I have something to show. I've enjoyed talking to you!

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  19. Hi Lucinda - thank you for one of the best posts I've come across on this subject. I'm building a toad habitat following pretty much all of your instructions. However, do you have any advice on how to attract just the toads/frogs and NOT their predators such as raccoons and snakes?

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    1. In the cases of these predators I find the "farmers footsteps" are the best help..that is your presence and watchful eye. I have actually not had raccoons bother my toads, and snakes I carefully watch for and remove them if I see them in or out of the water.

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  20. Hi, I love your toad habitats! I live in Eastern Washington and have tree frogs around my yard. I would like to build them a little frog sanctuary. I have never seen toads here, but if there are any around, I would love to invite them, too! I have always loved toads since as a child I regularly rescued toads from my neighbor's pool and relocated them to my mother's garden. Will the habitat you describe be fine for both toads and tree frogs? Would you recommend any modifications if it will definitely be used by frogs but only possibly by toads? And I am also wondering if I should provide a hibernaculum. Our frost line here is 24 inches. The tree frogs have always been around, so I guess they do alright, but I would be happy to make them an easier place to hibernate--any maybe it would help attract toads? I found several websites which describe how to make a hibernaculum. I would try to make one that would be good for toads and frogs, and possibly for the blue-tailed skinks we see around here, but not designed to be attractive to snakes. Do you think it would be a good idea? Thanks so much for your kindness to the toads of the world!

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  21. Hi. Thank you for this article. I have a couple questions. We have many, many frogs and toads in our yard. Every summer I find hundreds of little tree frogs? I think, and also large toads in my garden. I would like to make a habitat so that they are comfortable there, and so they will stay as natural pest control throughout the whole summer season. My garden is located in an area with very bright sun. There is no shade, and as the summer gets hotter, I notice less of them in the garden. Do you have any suggestions on making the area more comfortable as a habitat and is it necessary for their habitats to have shade? I do have a small forested area about 20-30 feet from the garden. Would it be better to make a home for them there, and if I do will they regularly cross into the garden?

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    1. Hi Theresa and thank you for dropping by. It is always wonderful to hear about folks having toads in their yards. In your sunny garden it would be nice if you have a shade spot and a soaking dish or small pond, a large flower pot tray works well, as shown in this tutorial, making sure there are some flat rocks in it so the toads can climb out. Toads will come out in the sun to warm, and they go to shade and moisture to cool off, they are always looking for the happy medium between too hot and too cold. They do travel good distances and if make a little place for them in your forest, they would travel to the garden for feed. Many of my garden habitats have been sun and if there is a larger pond, like one made from a wine barrel planter liner, they just go soak in them the warm part of the day, and also at night as they please. The most important things for them are source of moisture, a large or small soaking pond , made so they can get in and out, and then some shade area, made from flat rocks, a tree root stump , a house made from clay pots, or a large leafed plants or shrub. Hosta's are great , but they prefer shade. I will also give you a link to a toad blog--which has maybe more info for you. I think if you reread the tutorial you may find helpful info there too. http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com

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  22. I am in love with these toad halls! I work for Habitat for Humanity Forsyth in NC, and would love to start making these and donating them to be sold at the Habitat Restore. Would you be interested/able to send me any flyers or brochures you have used before? I don't mind making them myself, but your presentation board is stunning and it would save me a lot of time! :) Thank you!

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  23. Hello and thank you for writing:-) It is a wonderful idea to make Habitat for Toads too! I do not have any brochures as I rely on spreading ideas on the internet these days. There is a lot of information now days on native Toad habitat and homes, most of it geared toward the general puplic. If you decide to make a brochure, I would be will willing to share some of my photos, as long as they were credited to me .... you could let me know and I would send files of appropriate images for your needs.
    take care,
    Lucinda

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  24. Hello, we have built 12 toad houses for our vegetable garden. Cedar boxes with roofs, two doors, I have dug the soil out about 6" and put play sand bottoms in, and have placed solar lights near the houses. We have 6 small water sources, about 2-3" pans and containers, with muddy bottoms and a few rocks. My question is we have been finding toads in our yard and bring them to the houses and in the morning they are gone. Would we have more luck introducing them to the water sources to get them to move in?

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    1. First let say how wonderful it is that you are working at making this big toad habitat! Without pictures of the actual set up, I will just make some first impression comments. Before I make those however, let me say that sometimes patience is required! It may take a new batch of young toads who are looking for home, to use the new houses. As I have said in my comments, toads are home bodies and will find a home and faithfully return to it each season. It is hard to relocate them or get them to move, unless nature is involved, such as drought or loss of the home. So the toads you see at night, may all be situated in a comfortable home under a log or in a hole other rodents made.
      So here are my thoughts about what you describe:
      - The cedar box houses.. size of box? door opening size?
      - I have never used sand in the bottoms, if it is builders bagged sand, which has silica in it, it could actually perhaps be irritative. I would stick with dirt , maybe mixed with peat moss. I have found toads burrowed into bags of potting soil for the winter. Remember that what ever it is ,it needs to natural and organic with no chemical fertilizers in it.
      -The water dishes sound a bit small. In my tutorial I use "pot " trays that you buy for large flower pots. Some toads get quite large and 2"-3" would be too small. If what you are seeing is small, like 1.5" to 2", they are either babies or perhaps they are Pacific Chorus Frogs (tree frogs) who also eat bugs.
      - In the daytime is the direct sun on the wooden houses? if so, they may get uncomfortably hot in inside. I usually try to keep taller plants around or rocks or locate in an area with morning sun, but not direct afternoon sun.
      Generally my approach is to create a habitat, house, vegetation and water in a single area , like a toad garden you might say, and this little habitat is near all the other flower beds. It needs to feel protected and safe. A house put in a vegatable garden where there might be activity from people or other pets might not feel safe at first.
      I hope some of these thoughts help! Don't give up! Toads can travel quite a long ways too. I had them come from neighbors houses and distant orchard at night to my larger pond, pictured above. They came the same time every every evening and spent the night eating and soaking in the water, but would leave to their homes at dawn.
      Do not hesitate to write again.

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  25. Hello, My gardens are graced with a toad from time to time. I want to keep them around, so I will be building some toad habitats soon and thus my research began here. I just want to say that I love your little houses and will be making a Toad Hall soon!
    -Katie of Organicsavage.com

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  26. Thank you for taking time to write Katie! I love hearing about other peoples stories with Toads:-)
    Please do not hesitate to write about any questions you have when you make your Toad house!

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  27. I rescue toads down drains, they are amazing animals and I am very fond of them, (all that's needed is fishing net with a long handle, and a good torch). Your toads with the stripe look like what we call in the UK a 'Natterjack', but as you are in the US? these can't be true Natterjacks, they are very rare in most parts here in the UK. Many toad species, world over, are in decline due to ever increasing pollution and habitat loss, as are most amphibians.. Your 'build your own toad habitat' is inspiring, creative, and a valuable contribution to the welfare of toads who I'm sure appreciate a helping hand in this uncertain planet.

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    1. Greetings Mel and thank you so much for your interesting comment. Salutations for the toad rescue project! thank you so much that effort!
      The cream colored stripe is a notable feature of more than one species of toad here, the Western Toad( Bufo boreas) California toad all have that and you can see it from the time they are babies. I know there are a lot of different species of toads. I have been pleased over the 20 yrs I have tried to spread knowledge and care of native toads, that I now see a much broader awareness and knowledge by the public in general, largely due to the internet probably. I have also always been surprised and pleased at the large number of people genuinely interested and willing to help support our disappearing toad populations.
      Again, thank you for writing~

      Lucinda

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  28. I live on the Texas Gulf Coast and am presently having some construction done to my home. All the construction debris was thrown into a pile until the dumpster arrived yesterday. As we threw the wood into the dumpster we discovered dozens of toads nestled in the debris pile. The further down we went, the larger the toads, until we found the grandpappy of them all in the dampest, darkest spot--I was giddy! This is the first site I clicked on to investigate toad habitats and it was a great place to land. I'm particularly interested in getting started as the toads were so plentiful and it seems being so close to the salt water, they really need a spot to call home. I won't mind them chomping down some of these mosquitoes too! Thanks for all the info!

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    1. Hi Karen! FABULOUS story! Definetely made the day to read this wonderful discovery:-) First thing will be to make them a water spot to soak in, to keep them around. Since their homes is being moved, it is also a perfect time to put some other things out for them to settle in. Even an artistic log pile or something that would recreate the type of situation they were in. I am giving you a link to another site I have called "Garden Toad Watch" http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/
      This is a site to share stories and a saga of the native toads that came to my yard when I built ponds.
      Please do not hesitate to ask questions or share your progress:-)
      Thank you so much~
      As a PS, I will add to beware of Bull Frogs, they are everywhere and are invasive species that eat everything. If I ever found a bull frog, I relocated it as far away as was convenient. They will definetely eat the biggest toad and all the little ones ! They do not have that many predators, but crows and bull frogs and herons and cranes are some of them

      thanks again,
      Lucinda

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  29. Pond, frog house and decoration everything is nice. I will build small frog house near pond. It is good idea to catch the attention of children and visitors. What about pond’s durability? I made it durable, waterproof and leak proof by installing Pond Liners.

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  30. We have 2 huge Gulf Coast toads who have lived in our yard since we moved here 4 years ago (central Tx) one of them has a favorite cool spot in our storm cellar. One day I went down to check on her and she was in the process of being swallowed by a Hognosed snake! I rescued her and relocated the snake. I love snakes too and know they have to eat, but these toads have names. Wish there was a way to keep them safe!

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  31. Thanks for your comments! I wish I had a suggestion for you, but snakes are probably the hardest thing to protect toads from, along with Bullfrogs. You can make a house with a low door and a back escape door that protect them from larger things, but snakes are skinnier than the toads, so you cannot really make a smaller entrance. I guess this is where human companionship really counts! I watch my ponds and if I relocate all garter snakes, which will also eat toads and frogs. Good luck and Thank you for your help to the toads!

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  32. Hi I recently put in a preformed pond. It's around 100 gallons. I'm making it a wildlife pond. Think it came out fairly nice. Have plants around the pond its self. plus it's in my flower garden. Anyhow am going to be adding some houses for toads in and around my pond and flower beds how many would you recommend. The flower bed is on one side 15Lx3W comes up to pool area. then other side is 14Lx5W. the smaller of the 2 areas is shady till afternoon then gets direct sun. Have some kind of young toad in the yard as he was floating in my dogs wading pool. and couldn't get out since the water was low. so over flowed his pool and scooped him out. unfortunatly didn't have my other pond in yet. So am hopping he found a place to hibernate and will come out in the spring. I live in nebraska and it get very cold here in the winter. any ideas on how to keep them and help them out in the winter

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  33. Greetings and thank you for writing and thank you for helping the toads. Toads hibernate below the frost line, which, they instinctlively know. The dig in before it gets so cold the ground freezes, usually in October. Once they are deep enough they will be fine. What can help are things of piles of soft earth and compost, but it is probably late for that now. I have found them hibernating in my large bags of potting soil and peat moss leaned against my potting bench area next the pump house. The dig down into the bag, Pretty cute! If what you found as small , it might have been a frog too. I believe aquatic frogs hibernate in the bottom of the water..or a pond. Their metabolism slows way way down and they are kind comatose through the winter. Nature has a way! The toads , which are not really aquatic, except during mating season, need the ponds through the summer to hydrate themselves and keep cool. I have had several houses in my garden areas and they all get used, it just depends on how many toads are around. And they will live together too. I would put more than one if you want, as they are nice to landscape with ...You can't really have too many, as they are not territorial in that way and if there are enough toads, they will be glad. Pacific chorus frogs, (we use to call "tree frogs" also use houses . As do other frogs, but they do make them permanent homes like toads. I hope some of that helps and thanks again~

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  34. I have been reading about how to make a frog or toad habitat when I came across yours. what a great post with awesome pics of toads actually using their new homes. it is obvious even these little creatures are loved at your house! thanks for sharing your joy and making my day! . shirlee

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  35. I loved your great post and awesome pics of toads using their new neighborhood and pool! . its obvious you love these little creatures and they give you a much joy. thank you for sharing.

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  36. I love everything about this ! I am currently doing an assignment for my herpetology course in university and i was hoping i could use some of your pictures as examples of how to set up an amphibian habitat. I will reference everything back to this blog post and make sure credit is given where it is due.

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  37. Thank you for this great tutorial! I recently have started a project to convert my koi pond. This Toad habitat will be a perfect way to use that space.

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  38. Very good article! Thank you for such great detalization! It is my dream to make my garden as you did! I want to ask you about lighting. I strongly sure that it plays the most important role for making great view! Is it important to use such expensive lamps as bega hardware.ch/bega or I can use any cheaper variant? Some of my friends sure that it is impossible to make something with the help of simple thimgs!

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    1. The solar lights I use coast $2.99 at hardware sale or Rite Aid, not expensive!

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  39. I live in Maryland and just moved to the country. I have several toads in my yard and they also go in my window wells, which have covers but somehow they find a way in. I always take them out and put them back in my garden but maybe they don't want me to "rescue" them. They can't jump back out, it's too deep. So, do I continue to help them out or leave them alone. Or if I added a ramp of some sort would they use it? I really love them and can't wait to make my garden toad friendly. Thanks for info.

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  40. Hi Sandy and thanks for stopping by. I am glad you are helping the toads out of your window wells. Without seeing what they look like I cannot help figure out how they fall in. Is there a sheer drop off, maybe they need a little fence on the edge or rock boarder? They will use a ramp or stack of rocks if it is not too slanted. Maybe they have a way of getting in and out that you are not aware of? They do dig into the ground quite well, and make burros for winter or to cool off. Maybe you could put some screen around the edge of the window well, or mesh wire. If you can put out a shallow dish, like a flower pot dish, and some water in it each day for them to sit in, that is the number one thing you can do to keep them coming and to help them. I am glad you have toads !

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  41. You are one of my new favorite people!! This is the BEST site ever!! Thank you for the ideas...I love toads!!

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    1. Hi Nikki~ Thanks for dropping by and visiting my site:-)
      I love toads too, and am so glad I have inspired you !
      take care,
      Lucinda

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  42. I currently have a flower garden and would like to add toads. Is there a certain amount of square feet per toad? I don't want to over crowd them.

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  43. Well, will they be captive in the garden or will they be able to wander about? Toads in their natural habitats can travel around quite a bit, even though they always come back "home". I have had Toads that came into gardens that were 10' x 20' , with vegetables, flowers, shade plants and a small shallow pond and two of them were very content. They eat several hundred bugs each day, so it needs to be an area full of plants, moisture and has a natural eco cycle going on. If they are confined and cannot travel about as needed, they would have to be fed with something like worms. What I have always done is to integrate my toad habitat into a garden area and then wait and see who comes! Pacific chorus frogs and toads always would show up.

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  44. How did you keep the tunnel from coming off?

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    1. Hi there,
      There are several ways to attach a roof, depending on your preferences. Originally I ran a ring of construction adhesive around the rim of the pot top and then settled the roof onto it and let it dry. If you prefer not to use commercial adhesives, you can drill small holes in the right location where the funnel touches the pot, and then add appropriately sized screws, three would be enough, evenly placed.

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  45. Hello Willodel, I have a resident toad that lives beneath my back porch. I just recently discovered that she has 1 addition to her family. Please help me! We are renovating our backyard and unfortunately will be digging up her home. I have found someone who will take her but am not sure if that would be OK. Should I move her to my front yard? But I am afraid it is to close to the street. How long can she live in a box until I can give them a new home. Losing sleep.
    Many thanks,TJ

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  46. Hello~ I apologize for taking a while to answer. Oh my what a difficult problem you have.
    It is very hard to relocate a resident toad.If the friend takes her, she will just try to come back to your house, I can guarantee this. It is also very hard to keep them "captive" unless it is in a large aquarium (NOT filled with water!) that they cannot get out of . To complicate things , this is the time of year they will be digging down to hibernate.
    Where to do you live? (is it a cold climate?) in milder climates they may not hibernate. I would approach this two ways. I would get a large aquarium or reptile cage and make a friendly habitat, earth, moss, plants, a soaking pond they can get in and out of , like pot dish that has small stones so they can get in and out. I would keep them there while the excavation or remodel is going on. If it is a cold winter and gets to freezing outside, it may be too late for them to dig down. If it is not too cold yet, you could let them back out and see if they will find a place close to their old home. maybe put rock stacked or log etc to create something if you cannot make a toad house. If it is too cold, you would want your aquarium to loose soil, like natural bagged soil, without fertilizers or water retainers in it , just loamy dirt, put in the tank atleast 10 inches deep so they could dig down. If they are in a tank/cage, they will need to be fed, they love worms, like you can buy for fishing (red wigglers)or crickets. This will be a job, but I know people that have kept pet toads. Since your toads are use to the wild, they will not want to stay caged forever.
    Please tell me how it goes!

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  47. I love this! I will have to make one now! :)

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  48. i love this thanks for posting its very helpful
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  49. Hi! I rescued about 100 tadpoles from my brothers pool cover. I thought they were frogs but as the transformed looks like they may be toads. I created a habitat as you have shown and have moved about 15 babies once they had legs. How many toads can I keep on a 1/4 acre? I also have a koi pond which is close to the habitat. Also do I need to feed them once I moved to the habitat? They are the size of my thumb. Thanks!!!

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  50. Hi Rachel! Such wonderful and fun news! Toads like to habitate together in communities and I am sure you can get quite a few in your yard. The best way to keep them fed is by having lots of vegatation that will attract insects. I have gotten fishing bait ( worms ) and fed my toads so they learn to come when I ring a bell or call. It is best if they do not become dependent on you for food though. Maybe treast once in a while! They eat slugs, so have places slugs like, rocks , pots etc. They love earwigs too, they are usually around under things, and putting down a flat board or even newspaper will bring them and when you lift it up, there they are. You could always release a container of fishing bait worms into your yard, they also will really help your soil and garden, but it is a way to populate the area with worms. At nurseries you can often worm castings , which the worms hatch from, and bury those/\. I feel if all the "ingredients " are there, with water, vegetation, shade, sun, stones, etc etc, then nature will find its balance. I am so glad you were able to do this!

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  51. Hello!! I have become quite fond of a toad who I have named Ted! We just got him a home and he seems quite happy!! Is there a particular type of plant or flower that is good for them? I was going to get some plants so he has some shade!!

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  52. Hi Abby This is wonderful news! The main thing is creating a good environment, the soaking pond or pot tray, somewhere for the toad to set in to absorb water (they do not drink through their mouths) , a shelter place and then as many nice plants that will create shade and bring insects, flowers are good , vegatables are good..remember they eat insects, not vegetation. I think one of the best things you can do is put out solar garden lights that will attract insects to the area at night, because the night time is when toads come out to hunt for bugs . The solar lights will attract flying insects. They also like earwigs, snails, slugs, ants etc. You can also buy fishing worms or crickets and feed them once in a while or let the worms go in the garden area so they will come out at night also. Have fun! :-)

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  53. Great tutorial! Exactly what I needed to find. I noticed a little toad (at least) in one of vegetable beds. I had not yet cleared it up from planting. (I allow clover to cover the bed when not in use). I decided to not use that bed for now and thanks to your tutorial, I know exactly what to do. I went and purchased a small bowl, that is 3" deep not having yet read the tutorial, so I guess it was meant to be. The rest of the material I have available. If he likes it and others come, there is room to expand and one less bed for me to worry about. Thanks for the information. I'm naming him (or her) Toddy McToad.

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    1. So delighted to hear this story! Thank you for sharing it! You might like to visit my original Toad Blog
      http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/ for more stories and pictures. Make sure Toady can get in and out of the soaking dish, if it has straight sides and the water gets low, some times they have a hard time getting out, a piece of wood or rocks can help. So glad you can watch over them now:-)

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  54. Hi hi!
    I recently have found 2 toads in our window wells, they have made a home here and my in laws say they have lived her for a few years. I have decided to make a nicer home for them. I have put some peppermint I had growing in a pot and another little plant in a pot. I bought them a toss house (premade) but realized it's too small. What could I plant that they would enjoy? Would it be better to take them out and release them? My 3 year old has taken to them and he checks them every morning and at night before we go to bed, along with my 1 year old. Haven't named them yet because we don't know if they are female or male.
    Thank you!
    Jessica and my little toad watchers

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    1. What an exciting discovering :-) If they are " trapped" in the window box you want to make sure they have water and vegatation will bring bugs. If it gets any sun there, you could put a solar light or two that would attract bugs down there at night. If they have been there a while, we know they can survive. Plants with bigger leaves provide shelter and shade. like Hostas, and a flower plants will attract insects they can feed on. Toads always go back home, they home bodies and never leave their first home unless there is no food or water. You can always make a shelter with a couple rocks and peice of wood, something that would be big enough for them to go under and at least 3" high. The female toads get much larger than the males and the males have blockier , larger heads. Otherwise its hard to tell. You can see more pictures and read more on my original Toad blog: http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/ thank you for writing and sharing!

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  55. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.
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    1. Thank you for visiting and writing! I am glad you enjoyed it:-)

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  56. We have a toad who appears to live in a small hole in our concrete patio, where our air conditioner once sat. The area is uneven and broken. He hangs in the herb garden at night. We've always planned to re-do our patio. I'm only hesitating because of our toad. Help!! Any ideas. I've placed a frog house in our herb garden. If I know he's relocated we could fill the hole until we repair the area. Thx!! Any ideas??

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  57. Hi there and thanks for writing. This is a dilemna! Since toads always stay at the same home if they can, he will probably not relocate on his own. The only way I can see to do this would be to catch him the night before you are going to take the patio out and keep him safe until it us redone, hopefully thus would only be a day or two. I have kept injured toads or displaced toads in big fush aquariums, with a prepared habitat, moist groundm maybe a log or piece of wiid, a shelter to hide in, and a 1" or so pan of water, like a pie dish or pot dish You do not out water in the tank, just something for him to sit in. Then you akso have to feed him.. live worms( Red Wigglers) they use for fishing bait are good. When you do the patio, work a little habitat, with a good house house and a planter dish for water..as close to his old hole as possible. That is what I would . Be aware that toads often live in holes in the ground that are tunnels made by gophers, etc. There may be other toads! I am going to give you a link to another blog I have called " Garden Toad Watch, more info and pictures. https://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you so much!! I think I could easily catch him. Plans aren't definite for the patio. I hope he stays "single" for awhile to make it easier!! I appreciate the quick response and the link.

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  58. You are very welcome! The other thing might be to consider timing of project and wait to do it when you have seen the toad out, You woukd not want to do it when he was hibernating in the existing patio. Likely he digs into hibernate deeper in the ground where his whole is. Depending on your climate, he could hibernate from October or November to April or May. Lots of variations with that of course , based on temperatures. Onnce I found one hibernating in a bag of potting soil leaning on the the side of my green house! He was way down in the bottom of an almost full bag! I heard him making Toad calls in there. Take care, Lucinda🙂

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