Brown, bumpy toads
Toads and frogs, along with many other critters, inhabit our ponds. We have built a backyard resort for critters and we wonder why they arrive in huge numbers and serenade us nightly with their glorious love songs. Our new backyard dwellers eat mosquitoes, thousands of them daily, and therefore make our lives more pleasant. They also eat garden pests, flies, and other creepy, crawly things that most of us humans find more than a little unpleasant.
Just so you can tell which critters have arrived at the resort in your yard, toads are usually brown and bumpy and sound like an electric motor about to burn out.
You probably have toads in your backyard. Normally they are the first to arrive at a new pond after dragonflies and butterflies. Toads need water to breed and you have thoughtfully provided it. The sounds you hear nightly are toads calling for mates. The results of those calls can be seen in your pond the next morning, usually with the toads, one on top of the other, leaving long jelly like strands of eggs that will soon hatch into thousands of tadpoles. Toad tadpoles hatch in just a few days and turn into tiny toads in a few days more. Don't worry, they don't all survive. Good thing, because we would soon be up to our ears in toads. The toad eggs will not harm your fish. Your fish will not eat them. They are covered in a toxic substance that your fish don't like. Toads leave the water after breeding and will live in dark, moist places in your garden happily snatching flies. I often leave spaces between rocks so my resident toads can be happy and eat more mosquitoes.
Green, smooth frogs
Frogs are green and smooth, make a "ribbit, ribbit" call and are good for the pond. There are hundreds of kinds of frogs, from barking tree frogs that sing me to sleep each night to the huge bull frog that sounds somewhat like a cow living nearby when it croaks. And if one jumps out at you while you are trimming a plant or just adjusting your waterfall, it will scare you into next week.
Don't worry, they cannot harm you at all. If a bull frog gets large enough, it will still keep eating mosquitoes and other bugs, but will soon get a taste for fish. If your fish are disappearing and you can hear bullfrogs at night, you may have to relocate your predator or buy some feeder fish to keep him fed.
More pond critters
Salamanders and newts will become permanent residents of your habitat as well. They are bug eaters, so be glad to see them. None of the pond critters are harmful to you or any of your companion animals. If your dog eats a toad, the dog will froth at the mouth and will most likely never eat another one. Evidently, they taste awful.
Other pond visitors can be turtles who will eat your fish and your water plants. If your pond plants look like shredded lettuce or have disappeared completely, a turtle has sneaked in.
Invading raccoons can wreak havoc in your pond as they wash the fish and water lilies before they carry them away to eat.
Ducks and geese will make a mess of your pond water and all the plants around it. Herons and egrets will eat your fish and will tell all their friends about the new sushi bar in town.
I am always thrilled to hear the creatures arrive at my house. I know that I am helping our Earth by providing a place for all kinds of creatures to live, eat and sleep.
Mosquito fish are a great natural solution to the problem of landscape pond insects, but you'll need to take some steps to keep your fish healthy.
Pond leaks are not fun. Noticing a water level drop, you are sure you face repairing your pond liner. Before you panic, make absolutely sure it is a leaking liner and not another problem.