Got Frogs? Toads?

Got Frogs?  How about toads?  These amphibians are considered by many specialists to be excellent indicators of the overall environmental stability of their local ecosystem.  These sensitive creatures are usually the first casualties in an endangered ecosystem.

Their existence is important in both their predator and prey roles.  When traveling to Panama a few years ago to help with golden frog rescue efforts, Zoo Animal Care Supervisor Jeff Landry commented, “I was so surprised at how quiet the rainforest was and how much algae was growing in the ponds, this was due to the lack of frogs in the rainforest and the frog tadpoles that feed off the algae. With no frogs reproducing, there are no tadpoles, which have big consequences on the environment.”

Frogs and toads feed largely on insects, so it’s quite easy to see their importance in our environment.  The frog shown in the above picture is a Bull Frog that visited my pond last Spring.  Their diets differ from other species in the fact that they eat fish, small ducks and other frogs; making them not as desirable in your serene pond environment.  Attracting the insect loving frogs and toads can be done with a few suggestions from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

  • Leave some leaf litter under your trees, shrubs and in the garden.
  • Encourage native ground covers, grasses and wildflowers.
  • Build a burrow for their protection.   This can be as simple as a punching a hole in a flower pot, place the top opening on the ground in a shaded, moist garden area.
  • Ponds with natural vegetation and rocks are welcoming to them as well.
  • Erecting a toad light that is no taller than 3 feet and is located near the border of a garden or rocky area.  This light will attract insects at night, which is when they feed.
  • Discourage children from catching and caging of frogs and toads.
  • Minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

 

 

References for this article:

http://www.hoglezoo.org/meet_our_animals/conservation/year-of-frog

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12148-35095–,00.html

 

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