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Posts Tagged ‘backyard wildlife’

We’ve all read at least something about welcoming wildlife in the garden. Providing suitable habitat—including food, water, and shelter—is essential. Sometime the habitat that wildlife chooses isn’t quite what you would expect, though. My current case-in-point is the rather large toad that has been living on our deck all summer long.

Pyrosa-'Variegata'

Above: A potted Pyrrosia fern summering on a deck doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of wildlife habitat, but evidently toads think otherwise!

At first glance, a deck doesn’t seem like a great spot for a toad to set up residence, especially one that is the main route four dogs take to and from the back yard several times a day. Still, “our” toad seems happy there. Food doesn’t seem to be a problem, since he or she seems to be able to find plenty to eat—especially in the evening when the lights in the living room or out on the deck are on and are attract night-flying insects.

I added a plant saucer to make sure adequate water was available, which takes care of two of the three basic characteristics of suitable wildlife habitat. (Dogs and toad don’t seem to mind that they are sharing, as long as I keep the saucer filled up.)

Shelter is another story. I wondered what our resident toad did during the day and in very hot weather, since toads normally spend the daytime in cool, moist soil, either under logs or debris or in burrows. During hot, dry weather they can aestivate, meaning they spend the hot summer days in a dormant state, in burrows or similar locations. As it turns out, houseplant containers provide perfect shelter.

Toad-sansiveria

Above: A potted sansevieria is the perfect spot for summertime snoozes, thank you very much, as the photo above illustrates.

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