Frog friendly gardens
It is not surprising that many people love frogs and actively encourage their presence.
Frogs are elegant creatures; gracing our gardens with their beauty and filling our warm summer nights with their calls. They are also sensitive creatures, only thriving in clean unpolluted situations. Thus, they assure us that our surroundings are healthy whilst making a meal of those annoying mosquitoes.
There are many easy and inexpensive ways to attract frogs to the home garden - the following hints will get you started:
Garden frog pond with plenty of surrounding greenery.A dry, sparsely vegetated garden will not attract frogs but a well-vegetated garden will increase humidity. Try buying native and locally grown plants to ensure they are well suited to your garden. This will help to replicate the habitat that your local frogs like. Have a well-structured garden with ground covers (these act as natural mulch – keeping the soil moist), understorey plants and larger trees to create a sheltered environment.
A place to hide
Many frogs will shelter amongst your garden plants but there are those that shelter on the ground. Safe, cool retreats can be provided by partially burying old terracotta flower pots and ceramic pipes. Logs and rocks can provide attractive, frog-friendly garden features and thick leaf-litter can act as a moist hideaway.
A place to breed
The pond is an important component of your frog-friendly garden. It ensures a constant water source whilst providing sheltering sites around the edges and in the associated aquatic vegetation. Most importantly, it provides breeding habitat.
Not all frogs have the same breeding requirements so it is important to provide variable habitat. You may consider varying the depth in different parts of your pond or changing the density of your aquatic vegetation.
The pond should be densely vegetated around the edges as this will limit access by breeding toads. If toad eggs appear in your pond they should be removed. Unlike all native frogs, toads lay their eggs in strings of jelly that sit on the bottom of the pond or are attached to aquatic plants.
A pond must be safe for small children and fenced if necessary. Give some consideration to where you place your pond – breeding frogs can be noisy at night.
Your pond can be as cheap or expensive as you like. It can be made from a depression in the ground lined with a plastic sheet, old railway sleepers with a proper pool liner, or a cut-down, discarded water tank. Whatever you use, it can be turned into an attractive feature with some careful landscaping.
A clean environment
A Brisbane frog pond.Frogs are sensitive. While some species can handle disturbance, no frogs do well in polluted habitats. Frogs have thin skins that readily absorb common garden chemicals. They will also die if they eat poisoned insects. Avoid using pesticides and switch to animal- or plant-derived organic fertilisers.
Frogs usually feed on insects. These can be attracted to the froggy areas of your garden by growing a wide variety of plants, applying mulch to your garden beds and keeping an active compost bin. Installing a solar light near your frog pond will help to attract moths and other flying insects.
Never let your cat wander at night. Cats will eat frogs and are best kept inside when frogs are active.
Never translocate frogs or tadpoles as this can spread disease. Also, you may be introducing a type of frog that will not do well in your local area.
Once your garden is frog-friendly, frogs will come of their own accord. By encouraging your neighbours to follow your frog-friendly example, you can create a larger frog-friendly zone. The bigger and more varied the area, the more frogs you will see. Attracting frogs may also attract some common frog-eating snakes (Green Tree snakes and Freshwater snakes). Don’t be deterred by this, these are inoffensive species and are further proof that you have a healthy, diverse garden.
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