Ever since I was a child, I have loved the sound of “peepers”, calling to each other in the night. That first evening chorus was often the first sign of spring, heralding the warmer spring and summer weather that was to come. Additionally, frogs and toads can bring lots of benefits to your Houston, Texas garden. Here are some froggie facts, tips on the good they do, and some ideas for making them feel welcome.
The peepers you hear at night are actually the mating calls of frogs and toads. Males sing their love songs to attract the females, usually in swamps or boggy areas.
Frogs and toads eat mosquitoes and other insects that can hurt your garden, as well as harmful caterpillars that will munch on your garden. They also snack on snails and slugs. One toad can eat thousands of insects – remember that next time you are being bitten while you garden!
Frogs and toads don’t like the sun, so to make them feel welcome provide shelter in your garden – soft rotted logs, rocks they can squeeze under, or even a “toad cottage”, a charming little shelter you can purchase or make yourself. This will also protect them from predators, especially birds. If you have a shade, woodland or rock garden, any of these will accent your Houston, Texas garden nicely.
Don’t use chemicals like pesticides and herbicides which will poison your frogs and toads in your Houston, Texas garden. If you must use commercial means to control pests and disease, use organic products.
Don’t touch your frogs and toads. One, they don’t like it, and two, they secrete toxins that will irritate your eyes and skin. This protects them from birds and animals that otherwise might eat them, but you won’t like it either (so P.S. no kissing!) Here are just a few species of frogs and toads you might find in your Houston, Texas garden.
Houston Toads. Although found in other parts of Texas, you won’t find this little guy in any other part of the world. You can find this brown and cream toad all year round, and they prefer to live near water. To attract Houston toads to your Houston garden, try putting in a small pond. If you have a water garden, place a few logs and rocks strategically about for this toad to hide under.
Grey Tree Frogs. Another Houston native, this little frog can change from grey to green, much like a chameleon. Look for them in brushy, overgrown areas of your Houston, Texas garden. These frogs have a wonderful, trilling love song.
Narrowmouth Toads. This spotted frog loves to hang out under rocks, so check for him in your Houston, Texas rock garden. They have pointed snouts and eat tons of insects. These toads are really frogs, but I’m not sure why they aren’t called narrowmouth frogs.
Good luck and happy gardening!