How to make frogs

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Frogs

Frogs are amphibians. They live part of their life cycle underwater, breathing through gills, and part of their life cycle on land, breathing with lungs. ‘Amphibian’ comes from two Greek words – amphi meaning ‘both’ or ‘two’ and bios meaning ‘life’.

Frogs start their lives as eggs laid in water. After a week or so they hatch, as tadpoles, and swim around eating tiny animals, algae and other plant life in the water. Gradually they lose their tails and grow little legs and arms until finally they turn into fully formed frogs. Mature frogs live mostly on land, but love to visit wet, shady areas and shallow water.

Frogs need your help to survive!

By maintaining frog habitats in your backyard, you’ll be rewarded with a frog symphony in the spring, summer and autumn months.

Frogs rely on camouflage for protection and some can even change colour to blend into the background. While this sometimes works to avoid natural predators, our pets, particularly cats, are not fooled so easily. So it’s a good idea to keep cats inside when you know there are frogs around.

Tadpoles eat some plant life and other small creatures in the water and can only live in unpolluted water. This means that we need to be extra careful about what kind of chemicals we wash into our waterways (particularly cleaning products, oils and pesticides). A tadpole’s survival ultimately means a frog’s survival! Frogs are an indicator of a healthy environment.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The frog is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care… and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what frogs do and do not like.

Frogs love:

Water – they spend the early part of their life cycle (eggs and tadpoles) in water. As fully grown frogs some like to sit in or near water.

Shelter – the skin of frogs is not waterproof, drinking water and oxygen are absorbed through their skin. Therefore a cool moist environment is essential for many frogs so water does not evaporate from their skin in hot, dry weather.

A place to hide – rocks, leaf litter, mulch, twigs, shrubs, trees, hollow branches and bark provide safety from predators.

Eating garden pests – mosquitoes, moths, caterpillars, cockroaches and flies are on the menu.

But they don’t like:

Cats and dogs – they may prey on frogs when the opportunity arises.

Garden chemicals – chemicals can contaminate frog ponds and destroy the homes of frogs and tadpoles.

Exotic fish – goldfish, gambusia and other exotic fish are known to eat frog’s eggs and attack tadpoles.

Being handled and moved around – frogs are at risk from diseases caused by the frog chytrid fungus and other infections. A frog is more likely to become infected when under stress. The disease may also be spread when frogs or tadpoles are moved by people from place to place.

Be a buddy to frogs

Try to:

  • listen for frog calls on a still night and discover if you have frogs in your backyard.
  • find a frog by using the ‘triangle method’. Three people form a triangle around the calling frog, and when the frog calls each person points at the sound. Where the lines intersect is where you’ll find the frog.
  • plant shrubs and trees and place rocks around ponds. Leave leaf litter and rocks in gardens.
  • place rocks or branches in water so that young frogs can get out easily.
  • keep your cat or dog away from known frog areas.
  • hang a sack or thick rope at the edge of your swimming pool so frogs can climb back out if they fall in.
  • build a frog pond. A pond creates a home for frogs and fish and adds a feature for you to feast your eyes on.
  • put a solar powered light in your garden. This will attract bugs, and make an easy meal for frogs.

Avoid:

  • using pesticides or chemicals in your garden that could run into water used by frogs.
  • taking tadpoles from local creeks – it’s illegal.
  • letting cats and dogs into an area that is home to frogs.

Don’t be surprised if:

  • you think you can hear a frog but never find it.
  • you see different types of frogs in the one area.
  • you see a frog sitting near its eggs.
  • you find a frog that looks like a cane toad. Don’t kill it! In the past people have mistakenly killed native frogs that look a bit like a cane toad. Contact your local National Park or local wildlife care and rescue organisation.
  • you see a green frog one day and a similar looking grey frog the next. Many frogs can change colour to blend in with their environment.

Find out more about your buddies

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To understand why there are tiny toads suddenly appearing on your property it is important to know their life cycle and how your yard plays an important role…

The Western Toad is the only species of toad found in BC. Despite a wide distribution throughout the province. It is experiencing a significant population decline, mainly due to loss of habitat.

When the toads are 3-5 years old they migrate to a wetland during the night in the early spring to breed and lay eggs. The fertilized eggs develop and hatch into tadpoles that swim and feed together in large synchronized schools. After several weeks, when the water warms up, the tadpoles metamorphose into tiny toadlets that emerge from the pond and migrate en-masse towards forest, grassland, and other moist terrestrial habitats where they spend the majority of their lives. Unlike the adults, tiny toadlets migrate during the daytime, and since they migrate en-masse they can be quite noticeable crawling through fields, backyards and roads.

If you do see toadlets migrate through your property you can help them survive by…
  • Watching your step! The toadlets are tiny (about the size of a dime) and due to their colouration they can be hard to see.
  • If you have a large number in your yard try and avoid areas where they are congregating- in most instances it only takes them 2-3 days to pass through your property.
  • Do not pick them up, as this is a very stressful time for the toads and they will be disoriented when you put them back down on the ground. As well, products on our skin can be harmful to them.
  • Ensure that your pets do not harass the toadlets
  • Avoid mowing your field or lawn where the toadlets are found
  • They will be most active during the cooler times of the day, during the hot midday they tend to hunker down in shaded areas to wait it out. If you notice that they are crossing a road in your neighborhood, use an alternate route during the morning and evening hours when they are most likely out on the roads.

These mass migrations happen only once a year, so within 10 days they will have moved on, hopefully to a safe forest home.

If you do find toads on your property and/or you have any questions/concerns please do not hesitate to contact us via email or phone 604-625-0066

Thank you for helping the toads in your community – they will return the favor by eating lots of pesky bugs!

Behold: 4 New Species Of Tiny Frogs Smaller Than A Fingernail

Vijayan’s night frog (Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani), a 13.6 mm miniature-sized frog from the Agasthyamala hills in the Western Ghats in India, sits comfortably on a thumbnail. It is one of seven newly discovered frog species. SD Biju hide caption

toggle caption SD Biju

Vijayan’s night frog (Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani), a 13.6 mm miniature-sized frog from the Agasthyamala hills in the Western Ghats in India, sits comfortably on a thumbnail. It is one of seven newly discovered frog species.

SD Biju

Four newly discovered frog species are so tiny that they can sit comfortably on a fingernail, making them some of the smallest-known frogs in the world.

Scientists said in a video that they were “surprised to find that the miniature forms are in fact locally abundant and fairly common.” The frogs likely escaped notice until now because of their tiny size and secretive habitats, hidden under damp soil or dense vegetation.

The team from the University of Delhi also found three other, larger species from the same genus of night frog, Nyctibatrachus, in a study published in PeerJ.

The largest of the seven frog species, Radcliffe’s Night Frog, comes in at about 38 mm, while the smallest, Robin Moore’s Night Frog, is some 12.4 mm. Take a look at how they measure up:

Seven new species discovered in India’s Western Ghats. A. Radcliffe’s night frog, B. Athirappilly night frog, C. Kadalar night frog, D. Sabarimala night frog, E. Vijayan’s night frog, F. Manalar night frog, G. Robin Moore’s night frog. SD Biju hide caption

toggle caption SD Biju

The researchers proved these are new species “by using an integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed morphological comparisons and bioacoustics.”

These frogs are also distinctive because of their insect-like calls, which sound a little like a cricket chirping — yet another reason why they might have been previously overlooked.

Researcher Sonali Garg, who is a doctoral student at the University of Delhi, explained in an interview with PeerJ how these miniature frogs differ from other night frogs:

“Unlike other large-sized frogs in the genus (up to 77 mm in length), which are adapted to live in forest streams, have large foot webbing and call loudly, the new miniature frogs have very different insect-like calls, lack webbing between toes and are found under damp leaf litter or in marshes.”

Taken together, the seven new species found in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot suggests that more species are likely to be found in the area. “The past decade has witnessed an exponential increase in the number of new amphibian species described from this region,” the researchers say. Some 159 new species were identified in the area between 2006-2015.

Night frogs are an “ancient group of frogs that diversified approximately 70-80 million years ago,” Garg said. The team’s findings mean a far higher number of the night frog genus are miniature than previously known.

“Previously, the Night Frog genus comprised of 28 recognized species of which only three were miniature sized,” the researchers stated. “Now the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species has increased to 35, of which 20 percent are diminutive in size.”

The newly discovered frogs all reside in small areas in the southern Western Ghats states of Kerala and Tamilnadu, Garg said. That may not bode well for them — the researchers say some of the habitats are in areas that are not protected.

“Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritization,” said University of Delhi’s SD Biju.

DEAR JOAN: I just moved into a house that backs onto an open field that is infested with frogs from January through September.

We find them on the handles to our front doors and garage, and hopping into our house. It’s really bad. I was going to install a new fountain but I am storing it in the garage instead, in fear it will attract more frogs.

Can you share anything that might help us control them and keep them away from our yard and house?

We just finished landscaping and have put in concrete, grass and trees so far. We are finishing the planter areas with drip irrigation in the spring, but I’m wondering if we should just do rock only and get rid of all of my plants, which would break my heart because I’m a gardener, but the frogs are just unbelievable.

I love them to a point, but this is almost scary.

Camille Williams, Bay Area

DEAR CAMILLE: That’s quite a problem you’ve got there, and probably one that is rather unique.

Before doing anything, you need to determine what type of frogs you have. The California red-legged frog is on the threatened and endangered species list and shouldn’t be touched. On the other hand, the American bullfrog and common coqui are considered invasive frogs and shouldn’t be encouraged.

While you might be tempted to take extreme measures against the frogs, I’d ask you to take some deep breaths and consider the most effective methods that won’t kill the frogs and a lot of animal life in your garden.

Look at what might be attracting the frogs to your yard. The three obvious things are food, water and shelter. Frogs eat insects, which is a good thing, but if you have a lot of insects and slugs in your yard, you are sending the frogs a dinner invitation.

Water doesn’t necessarily mean pools and fountains, although I do think you should keep the fountain in storage until the frog situation has been taken care of. Over-irrigating your property can attract frogs. There’s not much you can do about the winter rains, but you can make certain that the water isn’t pooling up around plants or in low spots in the yard.

Frogs like places that provide them with hiding spots and shade from the sun. Get rid of weeds, cut tall grass and rake fallen leaves.

You don’t have to create a barren desert in your backyard, but you do need to eliminate or reduce those attractants.

Next, you can try some nonlethal chemical welfare. Using snake repellent is as useful against frogs as it is against snakes — perhaps even more so. You also can put down a thin layer of coffee grounds in the areas where the frogs are the most common. It won’t harm the frogs, but they won’t want to sit on or hop across them.

Most frogs are freshwater creatures, so spraying areas of your yard with salt water also will discourage the frogs. Vinegar can be useful, too. However, coffee grounds, salt and vinegar can harm your plants, so use caution.

You’ll probably never rid yourself of all the frogs, so you might try getting along with the ones you can tolerate by creating a frog-friendly habitat in a small corner of your yard. Combined with your other efforts, you should be able to have the best of both worlds.

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The warm weather of summer brings out all kinds of creatures that had remained hidden during the cooler months. One such group of animals, that has recently become active, are frogs. A lot of people think that you need to visit a pond or a stream or a marsh to see frogs, but they are right here, all around Houston. We can see many species of frog right in our own backyards. Let’s have a look at a few species that are most commonly encountered.

The Gulf Coast Toad is the most common frog found in yards around the Houston area. As with most toads, they are primarily terrestrial, only heading to bodies of water and rain puddles to drink, mate, and lay eggs. They have bumpy skin, but those bumps aren’t warts, not like the kind that we get on our hands or feet (those are caused by a virus passed between people). Toads do have, however, poison glands on the sides of the head which produce a milky toxin, that helps protect them from predators. After heavy rains, listen for a loud trill call from ditches, ponds, and wetlands.

The Green Treefrog, despite its name, is found in wet areas away from trees, even in gardens on the sides of houses. This large bright green, waxy looking tree frog, is active on warm summer nights, when it can sometimes be heard making a loud nasal KWAK KWAK KWAK call. In wetlands, the chorus of dozens and dozens of males may be deafening. As with that vast majority of frogs, it is the males that call, to attract females to mate. Also, as with most frogs, they require standing water to lay their eggs. There is a similar small treefrog that can be either green or brown, called the squirrel treefrog, that you may encounter around your house as well.

Rio Grande Valley Chirping Frogs were introduced into the Houston area accidentally in potted plants brought up from the Valley. The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is the Northernmost extent of their native range, the area around Brownsville and Harlingen. Chirping frogs do not require standing water to lay their eggs, so they lay them in moist soil. Their offspring go through the tadpole stage inside of the egg. Basically, the conditions in the soil of a potted plant, and in the leaf litter of your garden are ideal. Though you may not see these tiny frogs often, you will hear them squeaking and chirping after rains, next to your home.

If you want to encourage some of these frogs to live in your yard, you need to make your yard and garden a good habitat for them. Try not to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Make sure to leave leaf litter under bushes and other plants. Try to have a variety of native plants that will attract tasty insects. If you have space for it, try to have a small pond that frogs can soak in.

  • Easy Access to the Water. A pond with sloped sides is necessary to allow the frogs to easily get in and out of the pond. Using a flexible pond liner to build a frog pond that gradually slopes from shallow to deep is best. A pre-formed plastic liner can be used but you must place rocks or other items in the water in such a way as to make a ramp for the frogs to get in and out. The pond does not have to be overly large, though.
  • Skip the Aeration, Filtration, and Waterfalls. Frogs like quiet, still water.
  • No Fish. Fish are natural predators of frogs, especially eggs and tadpoles.
  • Add Plants in and Around the Pond. A variety of water plants such as water lilies help to provide cover, shade, and a more natural environment. Likewise, provide plants around the pond for shelter and shade (hostas, ferns, wildflowers, etc). In addition, let the grass grow longer around the pond for extra cover. The plants in and around the pond will attract insects and other organisms that frogs feed on. Native plants are best—check with your garden center for advice.
  • Don’t Keep It Too Clean. Remember that most natural ponds are not sparkling clean. Organic matter in the water helps create natural conditions and feeds the natural prey for the frogs. Algae in the pond also nourish tadpoles.
  • Provide Extra Shelter. Place a couple of clay plant pots, on their side and partly buried, to provide extra shelter and shade. Remember frogs like it damp and cool, and also need places to hide from predators.
  • Minimize Predators. If you have dogs and cats, try to limit their access to the pond area. You may want to put a wire fence around the pond area to help keep predators away.
  • Keep It Chemical Free. Frogs are very sensitive to pollutants and you do not want to use garden chemicals in your yard that might ultimately hurt the frogs.

© fablok / Fotolia

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While frogs are generally harmless and even helpful in keeping the insect population down, they are not always welcome. If you riased your eyebrow at the how to get rid of frogs question, let us tell you a few things first.

Some species may be poisonous to pets, while larger populations can be very noisy. On the other hand, we very well know frogs are mostly beneficial, so the guide today refers to getting rid of frogs when they are, simply, too many.

Although toads are larger than frogs, the following methods will generally work on both species. So let’s see how to get rid of frogs when you start feeling they are trying to get rid of you!

WARNING: Do Your Research!

Frogs and toads are a vital part of the environment, and invasive species often prey upon native populations.

In addition, diseases have ravaged some species, even to the point of extinction.

For this reason, the species currently taking up residence in your back yard may be protected or endangered.

Take some time to identify the species you are dealing with and find out if they are on the protected/endangered list in your state before attempting to use any method that might harm or kill the frogs.

Why Are There Frogs in My Yard?

© David Pimborough / Fotolia

Having multiple frogs in your yard or garden suggests that something is attracting them. In some cases, these attractants are wanted features, such as a pond. In other cases, the frogs are attracted by something equally unwanted.

Insects

One of the biggest causes of frog infestation is an existing bug problem.

  • Frogs consider pests such as flies and mosquitoes to be a primary food source and will congregate where there are plenty of insects to eat.

Night Lighting

Having lights in your garden may be pretty, but it also attracts a number of insects. Frogs will come looking for those insects.

  • Thus, the more lights you have on at night in your yard or garden, the more likely there will be a feast waiting for frogs and toads.

Shelter

Frogs are somewhat timid creatures and prefer places where there are shade and shelter.

  • You are much more likely to attract them if you have plenty of weeds, fallen leaves, or tall grass for them to hide in.
  • Having a densely-packed garden that doesn’t incorporate complimentary gardening techniques can also attract insects and shelter the frogs which hunt them.

Water

Frogs are amphibians and prefer to live near sources of water.

  • Standing water is especially attractive as mosquitoes and other insects often propagate there.
  • Sometimes this water is a garden feature, but can also be a result of poor drainage and uneven landscaping.

How to Get Rid of Frogs in the Most Humane Ways Possible

Natural Remedies Against Frogs

© NorGal / Fotolia

It can be very difficult to get rid of frogs’ infestation without resorting to chemicals. However, there are a few methods which are effective against smaller populations. These methods often require patience and work, but are usually cheap to implement and rarely harm the frogs (making them legal almost everywhere).

Create a Frog Haven

In some cases, you may wish to keep frogs around, just not in places where they might get caught in a lawnmower or in public areas.

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  • You can achieve this by creating a small corner of your yard or garden which includes water and shelter for the frogs and insects they feed upon.

This is not a good idea if noise is your primary concern.

However, by providing a haven for the existing frog population and removing sources of attraction from the rest of your property, your resident frogs will venture forth when it’s wet and rainy to protect your garden, then retreat again to their shelter as the garden dries.

Coffee Grounds

One effective way to deter frogs is to recycle your used coffee grounds.

  • Sprinkled on the ground and in your garden, the grounds contain valuable nitrates which benefit plants while causing discomfort to any frog that steps on them.
  • The only downside to this method is the acidity of coffee, which may harm some plants which are sensitive to acidic soil.

Humane Killing and Sedation

Many frog species hibernate, so placing captured frogs into the fridge, then transferring them to the freezer will put them to sleep.

  • This method also allows you to transport the frogs to a local lake or stream where they will wake up and make themselves a new home.

Removing the Attraction

As mentioned above, there are many things that attract frogs and toads, usually relating to food sources. Removing these features will make your home less attractive to frogs and toads. Methods include:

  • Avoid leaving garden lights on at night or choose a light source which repels insects, such as citronella.
  • Incorporate complimentary gardening techniques to naturally repel insects, removing the frogs’ food source.
  • Regularly maintenance your yard or garden, removing leaves, keeping grass short, weeding, and reducing or eliminating shade spots.
  • Remove standing water sources and add a fountain or other water circulating agent to those water sources you wish to keep.

Salt Water

Frogs, much like the slugs they often feed on, are sensitive to salt water.

  • By spraying a little on your walkways and other surfaces, you will be creating a film that stings the frog’s feet.
  • While a simple deterrent, this is less effective in gardens, as plants generally respond poorly to salt exposure.

Vinegar

Making a spray of equal parts vinegar and water will provide an effect similar to salt water. The key downside to vinegar sprays is the high acidity which may actually kill plants that get sprayed.

How to Get Rid of Frogs with Chemicals

We know we said we would talk about the humane ways of getting rid of frogs, but sometimes, infestations need more radical measures.

© Tomasz Zajda / Fotolia

The fastest and most effective ways to get rid of a frog or toad infestation is to use chemicals. These methods will often harm or kill frogs, so it is important to make sure frog extermination is legal in your area before using them.

Heat

While not a chemical, heat will dry out eggs and tadpoles, killing them. The eggs are deposited in clumps in your pond or standing water source and can be scooped out using a pool net or other instrument. Likewise, tadpoles may be netted and removed. Simply place the captured eggs or tadpoles on a dry, warm surface and let the sunlight cook them.

Herbicides

You may already be using weed killers in your garden or along walkways, but herbicides also affect the fauna that exists in those spaces. Evidence suggests that some types of herbicide can effectively sterilize male frogs which come into contact with them. Note that this method cannot be used against some species of toad or frog, as it reduces the overall population over time and may harm protected species.

Pesticides

Chances are, you’ve already considered the use of pesticides in your garden. Using a pesticide will help to eliminate the frogs’ food source. If a frog digests insects that have been exposed to pesticides, it may also become poisoned. Without a ready food source, frogs will often begin to leave on their own.

Snake Repellent

As odd as it sounds, frogs are deterred almost as easily by snake repellents as snakes themselves. This method won’t kill the frogs and helps to keep them off of your property.

Need to hire an exterminator? Get a free estimate online from top local home service pros in your area.

Did You Try to Get Rid of Frogs?

In case you have a frog infestation on your property, remember to do your research first. Then begin with the non-invasive methods and let’s hope they work before you end up using chemicals. Have you ever experienced a frog problem in your yard? How did you solve it?

FAQs on How to Get Rid of Frogs

How to get rid of tree frogs around your house?

Tree frogs do not require a different treatment than regular frogs. You can try the following methods:
1. Spread salt or coffee grounds around the house;
2. Use a solution of water and vinegar to repel tree frogs;
3. Mix 1 lb of dry citric acid in 1 gallon of water and spray the frog-infested areas.

How to get rid of frogs in the pool?

Frogs may want to take a swim in your pool or have their fun around it. They will, however, leave the premises if you shock the pool with chlorine. Other methods of keeping frogs away from your pool include:
1. Fencing the pool;
2. Treating the area around the pool with coffee grounds, salt, or a vinegar solution to keep them away;
3. Cover the pool when you don’t use it;
4. Turn off the night lights;
5. As an alternative – although not sanctioned – you can also spread baking soda around the pool area, as it will cause the frogs enough discomfort for them to leave.

How else do you get rid of frogs from your backyard?

Other frog deterrent methods include:
1. Proper lawn mowing;
2. Proper lawn and backyard weed control;
3. Remove leftover food scraps and pet food bowls;
4. Install silt fences around your water features;
5. Clean and tidy closed, dark, moist areas in your yard that attract toads.

4 Simple Tricks to Attract Frogs & Toads to Your Garden

Frogs and toads are invaluable neighbors in the garden as they naturally prey on common garden pests. Here are four simple tricks to attract more frogs and toads to your garden.

How to Attract Frogs & Toads

1. Build Frog Shelters in the Garden
Create a sanctuary for the frogs and toads by placing natural frog shelters or toad houses around the backyard. Natural frog shelters could consist of large rocks, dead wood, and tree stumps. Place them in shady garden spots where they have easy access to a water source.

If you are looking to attract tree frogs then create a safe hangout spot for them by installing tree frog tubes around the yard. As demonstrated by this video, you can use PVC pipes (With drilled holes) to create a favorable environment for the frogs.

2. Don’t Eliminate All the Insects
The frogs and toads will only stick around your garden if there is a regular source of food for them to feed on. Don’t eliminate the pests unless they are a serious problem. Let the frogs (and other wildlife) handle the problem for you. Frogs like to feed on all sorts of insects including roaches, grasshoppers, and moths.

3. Add a Water Fountain to the Yard
Consider adding some sort of fountain in your garden to attract the frogs. The sound of running water may entice the frogs to investigate your garden.

You may want to also build a small pond in your yard. Toads don’t need it as much but frogs like to stay close to the water.

4. Install Low-Voltage Garden Lights
Install small low-voltage lights near your pond to attract insects at night. The frogs will have an easier meal time if the insects all gather in one area.

Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.

Frog Friendly Gardens: Tips For Attracting Frogs To The Garden

Attracting frogs to the garden is a worthy goal that benefits both you and the frogs. The frogs benefit by having a habitat created just for them, and you’ll enjoy watching the frogs and listening to their songs. Frogs are great insect killers, too. Let’s learn more about how to invite frogs to gardens.

A Responsible Frog Pond in the Garden

It is illegal to release non-native frogs in many areas, and there is good reason for this. Non-native species can take over an area, killing and crowding out native species. In some cases, releasing non-natives leads to disappointment because they may not survive in your area.

Just as it is illegal to release frogs from another area into your garden, it is also illegal to remove frogs from national parks and protected areas. In most cases, you’ll be able to attract plenty of garden frogs by creating frog-friendly gardens, so you won’t need to import frogs from other locations.

Frog-friendly gardens often include a small pond. Frogs need lots of moisture in their environment, and a small frog garden pond also provides them with a place to lay eggs for the next generation. Tadpoles (baby frogs) are interesting to watch as they gradually evolve from a creature that looks like a fish into a frog.

Garden ponds make ideal homes for tadpoles. They will need shade to keep the water from getting too hot, plants for cover and algae for food. Frogs prefer still water, so you won’t need pumps, aeration, waterfalls or fountains.

How to Invite Frogs to Gardens

Frogs are secretive animals that like to hide in cool, sheltered places. A frog shelter need not be fancy. As with toad houses, a flowerpot turned on its side and partially buried in the soil makes a fine frog shelter. Place it under the cover of shrubs or other plants to provide even more protection.

Frogs are sensitive to chemicals in their environment. Avoid using chemicals such as insecticides, chemical fertilizers and herbicides when you want to invite frogs into your garden. Use integrated pest management (IPM) to control insects, and fertilize the garden with compost or other natural sources of nutrients.

Keep children and pets away from the part of the garden set aside for frogs. Dogs and cats prey upon frogs and create a hostile environment for them. Small children may be tempted to capture the frogs. Frogs breathe and absorb moisture through their skin, so it is important not to touch them.

Attracting frogs to the garden is a great way to enjoy these interesting little creatures in a natural environment.

by Matt Gibson

So, why would you want to entice a family of frogs or toads to hang out in your garden croaking all the time? You might be surprised by the answer. Attracting frogs and toads into your garden is a pesticide-free and natural way of greatly lowering your pest population.

Frogs and toads are seasoned predators with nearly insatiable appetites, and they dine exclusively on insects, so having a few on hand can help reduce pests in your garden. That means you don’t ever have to worry about sharing your produce with the local insect population or being forced to spray your precious plants with chemicals to get rid of pests.

That said, do not run to the pet store and purchase frogs and toads to release into your garden. Deploying an army of storebought amphibians is a bad idea for multiple reasons. Pet stores usually carry non-native species of frogs and toads, and it is actually illegal to release non-native frogs or toads in most areas because they can end up taking over the ecosytsem pretty quickly, crowding or even killing out native species. Either that, or the non-native amphibians quickly die off, as they cannot survive outside of their native environment.

Instead of importing a frog or toad family to go to work on your garden pests, simply create an environment that will lure these tiny helpers into your garden. Once you’ve created the proper habitat, as long as your garden have bugs for them to feed on, the frogs and toads are sure to come after them. Just follow these tips to make the frogs and toads hop your way.

Provide Water for Frogs and Toads

Instead of drinking by using their mouths, frogs and toads actually hydrate by submerging themselves in a body of water and absorbing water through their skin. Adding a water feature to your property is a wonderful way to make your garden an amphibian haven. If you’re up to the challenge, see the section of this article on adding a small pond.

If that is not an option, consider this alternative—that doesn’t require renovating your garden—to give your local frogs or toads the water they need to survive. All you need to do is place several containers filled with water in a shady area in your garden. Be sure to clean the containers and change out the water at least once per week.

If you skip the upkeep, you risk creating a habitat for breeding mosquitoes instead of the friendly, beneficial amphibians you’re working to attract. See the section on adding a shelter to make the most of your newly frog-friendly garden.

Eliminate Chemicals from Your Routine

Pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers can poison and even kill frogs and toads. You won’t be needing pesticides any more, now that you have a thriving predator population—and many gardeners prefer using organic fertilizers instead of synthetics anyway. Building healthy soil, employing companion planting, and rotating crops will also help keep your garden/amphibian habitat healthy and happy for years to come.

Create Shelter and Places for Amphibians to Hide

The majority of toads and frogs are nocturnal creatures, so they take care to avoid large doses of sunlight to prevent dehydration. These insect-eaters love damp, shady areas and prefer to relax in the comfort of a natural shelter, both to stay cool and to keep out of the way of predators.

Create a frog and toad shelter near one of your garden’s water sources by stacking stones together to create a small cave-like hollow where amphibians can relax. Another cozy hideaway could be created elsewhere in the garden using an upside-down flower pot that’s lifted from the ground by a few rocks so that frogs and toads can crawl into the cool interior and hide inside on warm afternoons.

Add a Small Pond to Keep Frogs and Toads Happy

Ideally, having a small pond in your garden is the best way to ensure a healthy frog and toad population. Build your pond in an area of the garden that is primarily shady but still gets some sunlight. The perfect toad or frog pond would be approximately 20 inches deep at the center, with a gradually inclining bottom that moves outwards from the center. The water feature should be as shallow as eight inches around its edges. The pond also needs a gently sloping exit, or some rocks that stick out of the water, to provide a way for the frogs or toads to exit easily.

Amphibians, especially tadpoles and other young ones, enjoy a muddy bottom layer. Dig the dirt up from the area you’ve chosen for your pond. Remove any rocks, sticks, roots, or other debris that could damage the pond’s soft bottom. Place a liner down, such as polyethylene or EPDM rubber, to cover the section that you’ve dug up and create a tight water barrier. Make sure that your liner is big enough to cover the entirety of your pond with at least two feet of excess material on all sides.

Your pond still needs a muddy bottom, however, because tadpoles like to lay down in the muck and filter the food they eat through the mud so that it picks up algae and a variety of organisms that help them grow. So after the liner is in place, you’ll need to put back all that dirt you removed so your pool provides the muddy bottom frogs and toads need.

Don’t add fish to your frog and toad pond, as even the smaller species of fish will feed on the amphibian eggs, larvae, and even the adults. If you have pets, they’re also a potential threat to your pond wildlife, so you may want to put some type of barrier, like a wire fence, around the pool. It’s also important to use a fence if you have small children, as they may be tempted to capture the animals, and the pond is also a potential drowning hazard.

Other Water Features to Attract Amphibians to Your Garden

Though creating your own backyard pond to house your frog and toad population is the ideal water source solution, building a pond yourself is not always possible. However, amphibians do require a water source that’s large enough to let them submerge themselves in order to stay hydrated. Frogs need water nearby in order to reproduce as well, since they spawn their offspring in water.

The ideal water source will accommodate both young and adult frogs and/or toads by containing both deep and shallow areas. If this type of pond is not possible, large, shallow containers are the best alternative. As with the pond, these shallow containers should be positioned in the shade and near a shelter where frogs and toads can hide from the heat of the day as well as the teeth of predators.

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

The main reason to court frogs and toads and invite them into your garden getaway is to keep annoying insects from damaging your crops and pestering you and your guests. Frogs and toads rely on insects, from giant moths to tiny larvae, and everything in between, for nutrition. Neither frogs or toads are picky eaters. Insects of any kind are potential prey: Beetles, aphids, cockroaches, snails, slugs, flies, and more are all potential lunch.

In order to ensure that your amphibious friends have an ample food source, there are several things that you can do to help. Plant a wide variety of native plants and shrubs, including several seasonal flowering plants that attract insects all year long. Keep a compost heap, and mulch your garden beds every fall. Do your best to plant an assortment of flowering plants that will produce blooms at different times so something is always blooming during the spring, summer, and fall months.

Choose the Right Plants to Lure Frogs and Toads to Your Yard

You might be surprised how many common garden plants are actually poisonous to frogs and toads. Vegetables to avoid planting include eggplant, rhubarb, snow peas, and potatoes, Flowers to avoid in your frog-friendly garden habitat include honeysuckle, hyacinth, hydrangea, azalea, and daffodils. Check this complete list of plant species that are harmful to amphibians to make sure the ones you grow aren’t included.

What plants are the best choices for stocking a frog/toad habitat? Long, thin, vertical-stemmed plants, such as reeds, rushes, and sedges, are frog favorites that serve a practical function as well. After breeding, amphibians attach their egg sacks to the base of plants like these just below the water’s surface. These egg sacks are a tasty treat for birds and snakes, so provide lots of foliage to help your frog and toad neighbors to hide their offspring from these predators.

Things to Avoid so Your Garden Welcomes Amphibians

Once your garden is set to double as a frog/toad habitat, there are a few words of caution that you should heed. Keep your grass as short as possible, mowing often to avoid killing your frogs and toads when mowing. Frogs and toads love to hide in tall grasses, so keeping your lawn clipped short helps avoid accidental fatalities.

If you are using mesh to protect your garden’s plants, keep an eye on it and make sure that it is kept taut. Also, use a mesh size that is at least 1.5 inches or larger, as smaller mesh sizes can trap frogs or toads and can kill them slowly if they end up trapped underneath it.

If you are a dog or cat owner, keep your pets out of your frog/toad habitat area. Pets will likely hunt and kill your amphibian friends for sport, which could drive away the frogs and toads that you are trying to attack and could also make your pets sick.

It is vital to protect your garden’s frogs and toads during the winter. The winter months are a hibernation period for most amphibians. You will find your frogs or toads at the bottom of your water sources. If your water source freezes, your garden pets will die due to lack of oxygen. Keep an eye on your pond or water source, and pour a pan of hot water into it during dips in temperature to keep the water from freezing solid and suffocating your frogs/toads.

Videos About Frogs and Toads

Check out this short film about why frogs and toads are valuable to gardeners and how you can start attracting frogs and toads to your garden today:

What is the difference between a frog and a toad? If you don’t know the answer, watch this video:

Really interested in frogs and toads? Did you know that frogs and toads have a history that dates back over 230 million years? Learn about their history and more in this documentary about frogs and toads, two of the most popular amphibians in the world:

Last, while you wait for your amphibians to arrive, you can simulate their presence with this four-minute clip collection of frogs and toads croaking:

Want to Learn More About Frogs and Toads?

Birds & Blooms covers Why Toads are Valuable in the Garden

dengarden covers How to Attract Toads to Your Garden

Gardening Know How covers How to Attract Toads

Grow A Good Life covers How to Attract Toads and Frogs to Your Garden

Natural Living Ideas covers 9 Ways to Attract Frogs & Toads to Your Garden

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