Did your garden seem a bit too quiet last season? There is something disconcerting about summer nights that are devoid of a single chirp or croak from once abundant garden frogs and toads. Silence in nature is generally not a good sign. A garden filled with frogs indicates balance and a healthy ecosystem.
What’s the problem?
Amphibians, such as frogs and toads, are going extinct at an alarming rate. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, one in three out of all amphibians are on their red list of endangered species.
Habitat destruction and fragmentation are big contributors to wildlife decline, as are pesticides, pollution, invasive species, increased UV radiation, climate change and over-collection of food by humans. We aren’t exactly making it easy for amphibians to thrive.
Creating a frog friendly backyard benefits us as much as it does the frogs. Mosquitoes, slugs and plant-damaging beetles fall victim in droves to these amphibian predators. Frogs and toads are a supremely effective, natural form of pest control. However, if you want to boost frog populations, you’re going to have to make some important landscape maintenance choices.
First, evaluate chemical use in the garden. Because amphibians have permeable skin, they are highly susceptible to pollutants, pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Many pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture and home gardening are either lethal to frogs or can cause serious genetic and birth defects. So start by stopping the use of chemicals in your yard.
When you consider birds, butterflies, bees, and other native wildlife in your gardening choices, you’ll help frogs and toads by default.
Build safe spaces for frogs. The structures can help attract them. Things like upside pots or frog houses give them a place to hide for safety.
Here’s a list of frogs and toads of Texas along with audio clips of their calls.