Want to add some natural insect control to your yard? Think amphibians. This group of creatures include frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. They are among the most beneficial creatures you can find in your garden. Most, like tree frogs, start life in water and then move to land. Some, like the California newt, remain in water. Adult amphibians breathe through lungs as well as their skin, which must stay moist to absorb oxygen.
Amphibians play important roles in the ecosystems where they live, serving as predators of insects and prey for many species of birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles. To keep them in your yard,
- Provide cover. Leave some fallen leaves. Plant a variety of groundcovers and shrubs where they can take cover in and under foliage. Don’t be too tidy.
- Add water. Amphibians need water to survive. If you don’t have room for a pond, consider placing a birdbath or wide dish of water directly on the ground. Plant native vegetation around it to provide shelter for tadpoles and small frogs.
- Avoid pesticides. Pesticides kill or deform amphibians and negatively affect their habitat and food sources. Rely on organic methods whenever possible.
- Avoid fertilizer. Fertilizer can run off into waterways where it may cause harm and even death to aquatic animals.
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