2017 Saturday Solutions


Bufonophobia- fear of toads

You’re in the garden weeding and you see a movement out of the corner of your eye. Suddenly, what you had thought was a patch of soil moves in your direction,  moves again, and then is still. The weeds in your hand fall to the ground as you try to calm your racing heartbeat, and you look again. There, beside you, is a small brown toad, perfectly camouflaged by the soil. You bend over to get a closer look, at which point it hops again and a bit freaked out, you quickly retreat to a safe distance to mutter about those annoying, slimy things, wishing that your garden was rid of them.


Toads, however, are not slimy. They are dry, which is why they like moist places. They don’t cause warts, and some stories say, and believe it or not, they can be taught to come and accept food when called, and they have been known to enjoy getting their hind legs scratched. As cute as that sounds, most people will never have the urge to have a pet toad, but there are still reasons to want toads in a garden.


Like the canary in the coal mine, toads are indicative of the health of the environment that they live in. They are particularly sensitive to toxins in the air, and so if you have toads in your garden, then that is a good sign. They also eat lots of things that you don’t necessarily want in your garden, like slugs and cutworms and snails, to name a few, and one ordinary garden toad can eat as many as 10,000 of these things in a summer.


If you can get past the sudden adrenaline rushes of finding them in your garden, consider trying to entice toads into your garden by building “toad houses” in moist, sheltered spots. An old flower pot propped up on a few stones will do the trick. Or branches arranged so that there is a hiding place underneath… Toads aren’t picky. After all, they are probably more afraid of being stepped on by you than you are afraid of them. They are just minding their business, looking for a nice slimy slug to eat. Which is one less than you will have to deal with.


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