Homes for Toads

Today we (ok, *I* actually!) decided to make toad houses from old pots I had lying about. I had read about them ages ago, but wasn’t 100% sure how to do it. Because Google is awesome (lol!), I just searched for “how to make a toad house from a pot” and found more hits than I could shake a stick at. Most of them call for using terra cotta pots, but the plastic ones are used far more frequently here in Costa Rica (due to the weather, I suppose?), and those were what we had on hand, so we went with that.

Basically, it was a project in making something useful out of what you have on hand:

Step 1: Gather materials. We used three old plastic pots and rocks from our yard. For the roofs, we used different materials, like coconut fiber, old tiles, dried palm fronds, twigs and leaves. Besides that, all you really need is a glue gun (and several glue sticks if you plan to make several pots!). Wash the pots and rocks very well; I let the rocks dry for a few hours in the sun, otherwise the glue wouldn’t stick. If gathering rocks from your yard, collect about three times as many as you think you need, and then some more! I was surprised at how many rocks it actually took to cover one small pot.

Step 2: Cut a hole for the toad and start gluing down the rocks. The hole shouldn’t be too big or too small. I ended up cutting mine a little too big, so I tried to place the stones hanging over the cut edge to make it a little smaller.

Here is my son working on his toad house. Since we’re homeschooling, we turned this into a whole learning experience about toads — what they like to eat, where they live, why they need moist, dark homes, etc. Lots of fun! He added a bell to the side of his toad house (it used to be part of an old wind chime) and put marbles in some of the holes to make “stained glass windows.”

Step 3: Add the roof and put the toad house in the garden. Wait for toads to move in! I didn’t take a picture of us putting on the roofs, but it’s basically the same idea. This is my house, covered in volcanic stones with an old bathroom tile for a roof that I covered in leaves and coconut fiber. I put mine in the shade of the false vervain plants in our butterfly garden. Toads don’t eat butterflies, do they? 😉

This is my son’s toad house. We call it the hippie house! He used lots of old bathroom tiles, and then covered the top with twigs and palm fronds sticking out of the hole in the bottom of the pot (now top of the house). We located this one by the side fence under some bougainvilla.

My husband’s toad house. His is so chic! He used river rocks and put an old roof tile that moss had grown in for the roof. I told him that’s a very hip toad to have a house with a living roof! This one is under a banana tree next to a water spout from the roof. Toads really need to stay moist, so it’s good to have a water source or a dish of water nearby. Dengue can be a problem where we live, so we have to make sure any standing water is changed frequently (although we do keep a birdbath).

It was great fun for the whole family to make these toad houses, and I really love being able to make something not only useful but beautiful out of what would otherwise be junk. Here in Costa Rica, we have a lot of cane toads, which are poisonous to dogs if they grab them. My lovable, sweet black Lab Numi is, let’s say, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so we have to keep her away from toads. Therefore, we put all of the toad houses in the front yard, as she spends most of her time either in the backyard or in the house (the 75-pound goof thinks she’s a lapdog, but we love her!).

If you have made a toad house, please leave a comment and let me know how it went, or if you have any tips to share!

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