Book SectionsTable of Contents
The Problem Puddle Power Frog-Friendly Backyard Why are we concerned about amphibians?
Wetlands - function/type Wetland issues
How to help amphibians
Community Green Plans
Other amphibian shelters
A few rock piles and logs around the pond will provide shelter and refuges from predators.
Place lawn edging around window wells so that amphibians do not fall into these death traps. If this is not possible, place rocks or logs so that amphibians can climb out.
All amphibians require water to survive. Besides building a pond in your backyard, you can provide moisture by having shady areas where dew collects, moist patches of soil and/or rotting vegetation. Let the edges of your garden grow wild with cover giving amphibians places to hide from the hot sun. One man built a Toad Abode, with a piece of wood. When placed in a cool part of the garden, toads sat under the two inch opening enjoying bugs attracted to the dark.
Rocky retreats for toads can be made by placing stones to form a rocky burrow about 10 centimeters high with a sandy floor where toads can dig. Use small sections of brick drain pipe covered with rock or pieces of concrete blocks broken to allow access to the toad chamber. Plant ferns to shade the area or, if it is too dry, a garden sprinkler can be used to increase moisture levels.
Some nurseries now sell clay toad shelters, but you can make one yourself out of a large clay flower pot. Just drill a series of holes where you want your toad size opening to be and chip out the drilled section with a hammer. Place one or two of these upturned flower pots in shady locations in your garden.
You might want to put a toad light (1 m high or less) between plant or rock garden and a lawn area to attract insects for the toads. The light should not be placed near or in a garden as it may attract unwanted pests to your garden.
The hibernating habitat required by an amphibian will depend on the species. If the amphibian species you wish to attract hibernates under water (bullfrog, pickerel frog, mink frog, green frog, northern leopard frog, mudpuppy), your pond will have to be at least 2 metres deep to prevent it from completely freezing. A pile of leaf matter should be placed in your backyard if gray tree frogs, wood frogs, spring peepers, striped chorus frogs and four-toed salamanders are to hibernate there. The blue-spotted salamander and the Jefferson salamander hibernate in underground tunnels, log piles and compost heaps. Spotted salamanders hibernate in underground tunnels while red-spotted newts hibernate under logs. American toads hibernate in sandy soil below the frost line, or in your backyard compost heap.
Converting a Goldfish pond
Fish like to eat amphibian eggs. A few fish may have little impact on the many eggs that frogs lay but too many exotic fish can devastate our native amphibian species. It has been suggested that feeding fish may deter them from preying heavily on your frogs. When converting your fish pond into an amphibian pond, first remove the goldfish and then drain and dry the pond to remove their spawn and fry. Do not "flush" your fish or release them in natural waterways. Your fish will disrupt native fish species and introduce pathogens into their populations. Arrange for sloping sides at surface level, and ensure there are plenty of plants and moist sites around the pond. Then fill it up!!
Don't be disappointed if your backyard toad habitat is not used immediately. Amphibians have years when they expand their ranges and poor years when their range contracts. The more habitat there is, the more amphibians will be able to move and perhaps even discover your backyard habitat. Do not deplete tadpoles from nearby sources to stock new ponds. With prior approval of local naturalists or wildlife experts you may move some tadpoles (about 100 per year) from a pond to within three kilometers (one kilometer is the migration range for the common toad!). This will ensure that all amphibians are locally adapted to your area. If you want to move tadpoles, contact the Amphibian Interest Group to be sure that your pond is suitable for that species
|©2013 Adopt-A-Pond. All rights reserved. Images not to be reproduced.|