POV: The humble toad is a backyard superhero

Let us not forget the most important super power of the toad, and that is what it does to help you. That’s right, every day the toad works silently eating all the vermin that destroy crops and all those beautiful plants in your yard. Slugs, grubs, beetles, worms, all these are fair game for a toad – up to 10,000 per season. I once watched a toad eating a line of carpenter ants as they headed toward my house to carve holes through my walls.

And what do you do for the toad? Nothing? That’s what I figured. Well, there is one thing you can do. Toads can absorb water and oxygen through their skin. Pesticides, fertilizers and other poisons that you put on your lawn are also absorbed through the magical skin of the toad, (sort of like Kryptonite to Superman) causing disease and death to our little lumpy friends. You can help the toad help you by ending this foolish practice.

The author is a licensed NY State Hiking and Camping Guide and owner of Critter Patrol LLC, an outdoor adventure, education and environmental company. To find out more, contact him at critterpatrol@earthlink.net, or call 369-1533. Current programs include the Adopt a Forest afterschool program with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, www.mohawkhudson.org, running Wednesdays (Normanskill West Preserve) and Thursdays (Schiffendecker Preserve) from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for fifth- through eighth-grade students now until the end of the school year. The program is free, and attendance is not mandatory.

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