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Ode To The Toad

| 7/3/2012 8:29:47 AM

We all want a healthy garden, a garden that provides food for the table; adds beauty to the landscape; and contributes to the native ecosystem.  The health of a garden can be gauged by the size and color of plants; the quantity and quality of harvestable fruits, vegetables, and herbs; and the presence of frogs.

A frog in the garden is a welcome sight 

Frogs breathe and drink through their skin. On land, adult frogs use their lungs to breathe, but they rely on the extra oxygen they absorb through their skin, especially when they are underwater. They transfer oxygen through their skin directly into their bloodstream. This makes frogs especially vulnerable to water pollutants. Frogs do not swallow water; they get the water they need solely through their skin.

Because of their physiology, frogs are considered an indicator species of the health of an ecosystem because they are the first to be affected by changes in the environment. If you have healthy frogs, you know you have clean water and air.  Also, since frogs are predators and prey, thus affecting many animals, frogs are a good indication of the health of an ecosystem.

Frogs As Environmental Indicators 

Frogs that are deformed indicate unhealthy changes in the environment.  The U.S. Geological Survey studied malformed frogs in Minnesota and found that a combination of factors cause frog deformities.  These factors include parasites, chemicals, and increased ultraviolet light.  “It is likely that one or more combinations of chemicals, biological, and physical factors are responsible for causing the malformations in Minnesota frogs. Chemical combinations may be mixtures of natural and human-made organic chemicals, each of which is harmless on its own but toxic when combined. The number of possible combinations of chemicals, biological, and physical factors is enormous, which may explain why finding the causes for frog malformations has been a difficult task.”

7/6/2012 1:54:42 AM

Mary, I haven't seen any toads in my garden. I have seen a few garter snake. They were small but fat so I'm thinking the bug population was much less because of them. I am surprised that there aren't any toads or frogs near my garden because there is a wet spring that has water all year there. It's the watering hole for the wild turkeys. Have a great day with the toads in the garden.

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