Toads

These little critters right here …

There's a lot to love in this photo: the toads, the duckweed, the eggs, and the fact that the water is absolutely clear. Yay, healthy pond!
There’s a lot to love in this photo: the toads, the eggs, the duckweed, the lilies and the fact that the water is absolutely clear. Yay, healthy pond!

… are the reason I got out the spade and dug a big hole in my yard last fall, hauled in a couple hundred pounds of sand, sculpted the sides, laid in a flexible liner, loaded 250 lbs. of decorative stone into my car, unloaded it, arranged it, blew $100 on a UV clarifier, and ran all over Southeast Missouri in search of duckweed and water lilies to keep the algae down.

If you look closely at the right side of the photo, you’ll see what looks like a string of tiny beads. Those are toad eggs, and there are hundreds of them out there, which means at some point in the next two weeks, I will walk outside to find the water absolutely black and wiggling with tadpoles that will spend the summer growing into itty-bitty toads.

Benefits of providing toad habitat:

1. They’ll eat a metric crap-ton of mosquitoes and other garden pests. Yay, toads!
2. They sing their hearts out.
3. It’s hilarious to watch the cat when they start singing. Walter has spent the entire evening stalking the back hallway, staring at the back door and trying to figure out who’s making that sound.

If you don’t have a water feature in your yard, I highly recommend adding one. Doing it right is a lot of work (and expensive as hell), but the fringe benefits are terrific.

Emily

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