A couple of years ago, I wanted to introduce a toad to our patch of dirt and make it feel at home. I learned what type of house it needed and where to put it. I was all set to go, but when it came to actually finding a toad to introduce, I felt hesitant. What if it didn’t like our hill? Would there be too many predators? Would it wander away and never come back? As it turns out, I never got a chance to answer any of those questions because I came up against a roadblock. I couldn’t find a toad! My hairdresser, Brent, gave me a tip, but it didn’t pan out. I called all the pet stores and was referred to one that was thought to carry them, but it didn’t. So, I thought…hmmm, what to do….
I got the idea from a lovely little book my mother gave me for Christmas in 1997, A Blessing of Toads: A Gardener’s Guide to Living with Nature. The author, Sharon Lovejoy, quotes a pamphlet from 1915 that states that a toad’s diet is made up of 62% harmful insects and if ants are added to the equation, the number rises to 81%. It goes on to say that “toads fill their stomachs to capacity up to four times in a single night, accounting for as many as fifty-five army worms, thirty-seven tent caterpillars, sixty-seven gypsy moth caterpillars, and seventy-seven thousand legged worms.” Repeating what a British newspaper from 1890 stated, Lovejoy says a toad has no bad habits, is inoffensive, and that gardeners should “treat them with utmost hospitality.”
Therefore, this year, I intend to do a ‘feasibility study’ of our little patch to see if it would be a good toad habitat. If so, I’ll do my darndest to find one. With that in mind, I’ll make a ceramic home for my toad. Here’s a little video that shows one being decorated by slip trailing. Mine might be coil-built instead of thrown, but whatever it looks like, Kenneth Grahame would be proud of it and so would Mr. Toad.