Last week, I showed you a ‘house’ located next to a vegetable garden and asked you to guess who lived there with a few clues to help you along the way.
Did any of you guess who lives in this ‘house’?
This house is the current residence of “Mr. Toad”, who makes his home in my mother’s Arizona garden. He is a Sonoran Desert Toad, which is one of the largest toad species. They are found throughout the Southwestern US.
Mr. Toad recently relocated from his previous residence, which was next to the chicken coop…
As you can see, he likes to spend time in muddy holes. At times, he is completely buried and you can’t see him at all…
It is hard to see him, isn’t it? One winter, years ago, I was digging a hole in my own garden when I got the shock of my life – I dug up a hibernating toad. Needless to say, I quickly put him back in the hole and covered him back up.
In the twilight hours, toads will come out and start their search for insects. In addition to eating flies, toads are also voracious eaters of mosquitos, slugs and beetles, which make them a very popular occupant of the garden.
Toads can live up to 10 – 20 years.
Although, toads are a help in the garden, eating damaging insects – you do need to be cautious around them. Don’t touch them yourself or let your dog get near them. Sonoran Desert Toads secrete a toxic substance on the surface of their skin, which enters through a dog’s mouth, eyes or nose. The toxins can cause an irregular heartbeat, excess saliva and uneven gait. In some cases, dogs can be killed.
Toads are a benefit to the garden and fun to watch as they come out during the warm season. Learn how to attract these helpful amphibians to your garden by reading, “Attract Toads to Your Backyard”.
How about you? Have you ever seen a toad in your garden?