The annual evening toad serenade has begun! From May  into summer rural and urban folks can enjoy the loud trilling announcing toad lovemaking season.  Nature’s summer music.

As amphibians, toads require standing water to reproduce but unlike many frogs they don’t need watery abundance. Toads lay their eggs in small pools that often dry up by summer. Eggs hatch quickly into tiny black tadpoles. While bullfrog tadpoles take two years to change into adult frogs, toad tadpoles are speedsters that transform into tiny hopping miniature adults by mid-summer. Often hundreds of these tiny creatures can be spotted seeking cool damp places to live.

Toads are voracious insect eaters, and gardeners delight in having them live under squash vines or tomato plants. Some people even construct tiny toad homes to encourage them to live in the garden.

We’re lucky to have a big toad living in a shed near our garden. His home is damp and cool with plenty of insects to keep him well fed.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, when pestered, toads eject a watery toxic substance from the parotoid glands. The toxin discourages dogs, raccoons or other hungry varmints intent on a meal from eating them. Few predators bother the placid toad. This bufotoxin can cause an allergic reaction in people.  But humans do NOT get “warts” from toads.

Homeowners can encourage toads to take up residence. Building a small pond creates a toad magnet and maintaining a few damp places in the garden will provide toad homes.  Avoid insecticides and, thus, encourage worms and insects for these intriguing animals to gorge on.

Kids love toads. When our children, Dan and  Nancy, as small children delighted in watching them in our small backyard pond. Toads help transform a boring yard into a wondrous one!

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