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Are Toads Welcome in Gardens?

Updated on June 15, 2012

They say that toads walk, and this video is proof that they kinda jump too.

Watch as this one runs away, but it isn't running, nor jumping, but something in between.

It saddens me that wild creatures are fearful of man, but that is the way it is.

the toad I found in my garden
the toad I found in my garden | Source

You may be wondering if toads are a friend or foe in gardens?

Here is the good news, toads are among the best friends a gardener might care to have.

Why?

Toads eat snails, slugs and insects, both good and bad, but just eating the snails and slugs is a great help to any gardener.

I have a toad in my garden, and he is ever so welcome!

I call him Mr. Toad, but of course he could be Mrs toad, for all I know!

Actually, just a little research has shown me that the uniform dark brown colouring of this toad identifies it as a female.

I didn't even know she was there. I moved some black polythene that was laid over my spare compost bags and there she was!

A big, fat, healthy and well fed toad.

I took the photos on this page, then put her back where I found her.

Mr Toad
Mr Toad | Source

Toads are officially classed as amphibians. They live in both water and land, and the strange thing is that I have no garden pond, fountain or any other water feature.

It rains a lot here, if that counts, but not heavy enough to cause anything more than puddles, so quite where Mr Toad came from is a mystery.

There may well be homes within the vicinity with pools or ponds, but my garden has a 10 foot perimeter wall and a very narrow entrance driveway, which puts the fear of death into me every time I drive in or out (I keep thinking I will hit a wall, it is so narrow), so how did the toad get in?

Once in, of course, she has enough food to last a lifetime, so he/she is happy, and I will do nothing to encourage her to leave.

What toads do in gardens

Toads like to live anywhere on land that offers moisture and protection. So if you have trees, make sure you have some logs (or compost bags covered with black polythene) lying around as a safe, dark, warm and damp place for toads to shelter.

Upturned plant pots situated in shady areas will encourage toads too.

A toad in your garden will:

  • eat thousands of insects in its lifetime, including mosquitoes
  • eat worms
  • eat slugs and snails
  • they have even been known to eat the odd mouse or two, which they swallow whole.

Every gardener welcomes toads, especially organic gardeners who wish to avoid the use of pesticides.

All amphibians, frogs and toads, should be welcomed into a productive garden with open arms. Like birds, they will help your plants to survive and thrive, while asking for very little in return.

All they ask for is a safe environment, so if you have frogs or toads in your garden, be careful when you haul the mower out to cut the grass that you do not inadvertently hurt of injure them, and that you do not use pesticides which they will ingest when they eat the affected insects.

Fact about toads

  • toads can live for up to 40 years
  • toads are cold-blooded
  • the type of toad in the photos above is the Common Toad ( bufo bufo), a native of the UK
  • handling toads does not cause warts (whew!)
  • unlike frogs, toads live mostly on land (that explains a lot!)
  • while frogs jump, toads walk as their back legs are not really designed for jumping
  • the skin of toads is dry to the touch, unlike frogs who have moist skin - having touched both I can testify to that
  • Mr Toad enjoys the protection of British Law - it is an offence to injure or kill a toad
  • toads eat worms, slugs and snails, and their tongues can extend an inch to catch flies
  • toads bodies feel warm and cosy when you hold them in your hand - I just added that from personal experience!
  • toads have poisonous glands on their bodies, so hands should be washed after handling them, just in case (croak!!!)

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    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      14 years after I moved into my home, I heard toads for the first time. It was in the village park after we had this horrible storm that felled trees and the like. I never knew they lived in our village. I could use a toad or two, but if they are poisonous it might harm my dogs, especially Ashley Belle Pumpernickel who eats practically anything without a second thought:(.

    • GardenExpert999 profile image
      Author

      GardenExpert999 5 years ago from Scotland

      Dirt clods - brown. Lady toads - brown. Yes I can see the similarity! LOL That toad felt nice and warm in my hand, I would have no hesitation in lifting it again, I thought it was cute!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Wonderful article with lots of great information. Love the pictures! I just couldn't hold a toad though--they're so ugly!--although I have accidentally squeezed a few, mistaking them for dirt clods. All the best, Jill

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Oh, yes, I agree with you about some frogs being beneficial to gardens. The Bufo is commonly called the Cane Toad and they are not the nice guy you found in your garden. We also have what is called the Rain Frog. They come out after a rain and "sing". They are very small (about 2 inches in diam.) and very green.

    • GardenExpert999 profile image
      Author

      GardenExpert999 5 years ago from Scotland

      I was hearing about your toad being introduced to Australia in 1935 to contain cane beetles, and the disastrous consequences that followed, as the cane toad (which I think is the one you are calling the bufo frog) has no natural enemies there, and their poison can kill a dog in just 15 minutes. It is frightening as even today there is no cure, and no-one has found out how to reduce the toad numbers.

      Anyway, poor old bufo bufo, the common toad mentioned above in this hub, does not kill anything bigger than a mouse, and is quite harmless.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      The Bufo is found in warm climates and they like to be near water. Maybe you folks don't have these where you live. Google Bufo frog when you have some time. BTW: thanks for reading mine and letting me link to yours. Goodnight.

    • GardenExpert999 profile image
      Author

      GardenExpert999 5 years ago from Scotland

      I didn't know they can kills household pets. I assume this is through the poisonous glands they have? I've never heard of a toad killing a dog or a cat in the UK. Maybe the type here is less poisonous or something. Yes you are welcome to link this hub to yours, which I am off to read now :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I see you have a link for the Bufo Frogs from Wikipedia. That's good because people need to know that type of frog cankill dogs and cats! We have those here in S. Fl. I almost lost my dog to one and a friend of mine did lose her dog. Check out my Hub about the Bufo Frog when you have some time. May I link this Hub to that one? Thanks. This was very informative. I'll vote it UP, etc.

    • GardenExpert999 profile image
      Author

      GardenExpert999 5 years ago from Scotland

      LOL, I never knew I wanted one until I got one! Thanks for commenting :)

    • rbm profile image

      rbm 5 years ago

      Fascinating article! I have a lot of slugs and snails in my garden, now I want a toad! :)

    • GardenExpert999 profile image
      Author

      GardenExpert999 5 years ago from Scotland

      I see you are from London. Toad populations have all but disappeared from cities as they usually die in traffic accidents while travelling from their breeding grounds to gardens. It's a shame! They are slow movers and walk everywhere, so can't get out the road of a car.

    • profile image

      NGCuk 5 years ago from London

      Wow. . Toads an be helpful.. I had no Idea about that...