Toads make good neighbors. They eat lots of bugs, worms, spiders and slugs and keep our gardens healthy. The Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists (VMN) taught us how to make Toad Houses at Explore the Outdoors this year. Watch this Science Matters video to learn how to make your own Toad House and how to protect toads in your yard.
Local Master Naturalists are part of a nationwide corps of volunteers dedicated to using their skills to advance the ecological sciences, protect natural resources and involve their neighbors in the world around them. Protecting toads is a natural way to reduce insect pests and promote a healthy environment.
Toads like damp, dark, protected places on the ground near a wet spot or a dripping faucet. The ideal toad house is made from a 6” clay flower pot. But a house can also be made from smaller plastic or ceramic pots. The pot can be placed on its side or set upside down in the dirt. If the pot is on its side, you can scoop dirt or leaves into it for a soft floor. For the upside-down pot, cut an arch for a door and seal a roof over the holes on the top. Roofs can be made by covering the holes with grout or caulking, or gluing a piece of shingle or similar material on the top. You can decorate your house before putting it in position; paint designs on the sides or glue stones or stickers to the top and sides. Sprinkle the house with water occasionally.
Be patient. It may take a while for a toad to find the house you build. You may not even see or hear your toad, but she will be busy eating mosquitoes and other bothersome bugs and keeping your yard and garden safe and healthy.
Want to learn more about frogs and toads? Check out these links:
- Frogs are Green
- National Wildlife Federation – “How to Dote on Toads” and more
- Teach Junkie – “25 Easy Frog & Toad Activities”
Article by: Mary Camp, Outreach Coordinator, Virginia Master Naturalist Pocahontas Chapter