If your garden is being swallowed up by slimy slugs this Summer help is at hand from the common toad (bufo bufo). Contrary to popular belief, the common toad is a major friend in the garden, munching his way through not only slugs but several other garden pests such as beetles, earwigs and larvae.
To encourage Mr Toad to move in, a water feature in the garden is ideal but failing that, if there are already toads nearby just making a simple shallow watering hole will probably do the trick. You could partly bury an old shallow dish somewhere shady or use one of the trays that you would normally put under pot plants, place a few rocks in there for him to clamber on and fill the tray with water. Make sure you keep this watering hole topped up during hot weather. He’ll also need somewhere to live. Toads like damp, dark places that they can dig down in so old, broken terracotta pots placed on the soil would do the trick . They actually need remarkably little space to keep them happy, as I’ve recently found out. We’ve just removed a wonky old patio and found several toads hiding under the broken paving slabs – I’m happy to report that all toads have now been removed to a place of safety. It should also go without saying that to encourage any wildlife to your garden you should stop using chemical sprays.
Here are a few toadie facts that you may not know:
- The common toad can live up to 40 years.
- They are mainly nocturnal creatures.
- They live for most of the year in damp areas such as deciduous woodland and it is only during the breeding season that they seek out lakes, ponds, ditches and slow-moving water.
- Common toads are solitary creatures.
- They hibernate in late October.
- Only male toads croak.
Get over any squeamishness you may have about frogs and toads in general, welcome their presence in your garden and pretty soon you’ll be happy to be sharing your space with them because of the great job they do in protecting your plants from hungry pests.