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How to Build Toad Houses with Terra-Cotta Pots

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Toads are voracious predators: over the course of a summer, a toad in your garden may consume more than 10,000 insects. Encourage them to hang around in your garden by providing toad houses—small terra-cotta pots inside which the toads can hide. Toads develop home ranges, and often return to the same retreat repeatedly; living for more than a decade, the toads that visit your garden may become long-term tenants.

Townhouses for Toads

Step 1

Wash and dry the terra-cotta pots with the scrub brush and warm, soapy water. Rinse well and dry off.

Step 2

Decide where you will place your toad houses. Ideal locations receive morning sun, but are shaded during the heat of the day. Ideal locations will also be close to plants and shallow water. Select three such locations, spaced at least 10 feet away from each other.

Step 3

Dig a shallow rectangular hole at each location using the hand shovel. Each hole should be approximately 5 inches long, 5 inches wide and 2 inches deep.

Step 4

Turn the pot sideways and set it in the hole—half of the pot should be below ground level, and the other half should be above ground level. Position the pot with the opening facing north, to prevent the sun from drying the inside of the house. Fill the bottom half of the pot with dirt and pat it down firmly.