Friday, September 3, 2010

Our American Toad

It was sizzling last Monday and I decided to pull the hose and sprinkler out for Timmy to enjoy.  Much to my surprise, a toad had hopped out from under our hose cart.  I didn't realize before then that we had an amphibian living in our backyard.
The Vrobel's American Toad is fond of shelter under the hose cart.
The next time I saw him (assuming the toad is a male), was Tuesday night after opening the garage door.  Luckily, he wasn't squished by the car but continued sitting smack dab on the driveway.  I had to caution the kids not to step on him.

It makes me feel good to know our backyard is in good health and can support the American Toad.  After reading up on the reptile's background, I discovered that he is doing us a favor.  He is our natural bug zapper.  Our garden plants can grow pest free thanks to the American Toad.

The other fascinating tidbit that I learned is that amphibians are sensitive to increases in acid rain or heavy metals.  Likewise, there have been reports of frogs and toads with missing limbs because of chemical exposure.  Oregon State University found that frog exposure to low levels of nitrate and nitrites (found in commercial garden or yard fertilizer) can affect amphibian development.  Thankfully, our lawn has been chemical-free for the last three years.

It is satisfying finding thought-provoking wildlife in our backyard.  I feel good knowing we are being good stewards with our quarter acre plot of land.  I just hope our American Toad likes his digs enough to stay.

Additional information on amphibian health and organic lawn care:
Homeowner's Guide to Protecting Frogs
Lawns: Pesticides Use and Alternatives

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