Frogs and toads are wonderful for your garden. They eat lots of insects such as mosquitoes, slugs, and beetles. They’re also super fun for children to observe and touch and bring music to your summer nights. So, let’s help them out a little bit by building some frog habitats in our gardens and yards.
For the most part, frogs and toads just need water, shelter, and lots of insects to live comfortably. For the water source, make sure you use something that the frogs can easily hop into and out of.
The getting into is usually pretty easy, it’s the getting out of part that is often hard. Therefore, choose a container that doesn’t have steep sides and isn’t too deep. You can put some rocks as launching pads in the container to help the frogs get out.
These launching pads will also help any bees that come to get water while pollinating your flowers.
It’s a good idea to put in several watering areas for frogs in your garden, especially if you have a large garden. In fact, small garden ponds are ideal if you have the space. If you set up a frog pond, consider adding aquatic plants to it to increase the biodiversity of the pond.
Frogs and toads will continue to come back to the watering area and if it’s dry they will need to look for water elsewhere, so it would be nice if they didn’t have to travel too far.
This brings us to another thing, try really hard to keep your frog watering stations full of water. Frogs and toads will come back to the same water source again and again and if you have a large enough watering station they might choose to lay eggs in it.
We had this happen one year with a small kiddie pool. So, try not to let the pond go dry, just top it off with fresh water each day.
To make a frog home, look around your garden shed for a few small garden pots that you aren’t using. Turn them on their sides and bury them just a bit. If you’re using a broken pot, make sure that the broken part is buried and that there aren’t any jagged edges that could cut the frog.
Many people use tin cans, just make sure that there aren’t any jagged edges sticking out. Also, add a little dirt and leaves inside the shelter for the frogs to snuggle in.
You can paint the garden pot or cans with acrylic paints or use a hot glue gun and glue “jewels” or tiles to them. This is is a really fun project for a child, so if you have children around let them make frog shelters to their heart’s content. This is a great winter time activity and the shelters will be ready when the snow melts.
Frogs like having a little jungle to play in. So, no need to keep the area around the watering station and shelter super tidy. Plant some herbs or other plants and let them just take over. The plants will also help the areas stay shaded and cool.
There is also no need to clean up dropped leaves. The leaf litter will help give additional moist places for the frogs and toads to hang out. It will also attract insects that the frogs can feed on. Frogs are fantastic at helping keep pests out of the garden. Their common prey are grasshoppers, crickets, ants, beetles and other invertebrates.
If you have cats, dogs or chickens you need to choose the location of your frog habitat carefully. All of these animals will likely chase, “play” with and eat frogs and toads.
Even if it makes them foam at the mouth, dogs will still eat frogs all summer long. So, put your frog and toad habitat in an area that is harder for these animals to get to.
Remember that the skin of frogs and toads is very porous and can easily absorb toxins in its environment. Go easy on the pesticides, even organic ones, in your garden for the safety of your frogs.
Lastly, there’s no need to stock your frog habitat with tadpoles from other ponds or from the pet store. Most of the tadpoles you can purchase are bullfrogs which will eat other frogs and toads. Don’t worry, native frogs and toads will naturally find your wildlife habitat if you keep it shaded and moist and give them time.