toad habitat in garden?

Asked August 4, 2018, 2:21 AM EDT

Hello, This may be an odd question, but here goes: I live in Portland, in NE in a residential neighborhood, and am interested in finding out if it is advisable or possible to introduce western toads into my garden if I am able to create appropriate habitat for them. I've read that there are no more western toads in the Willamette valley, that they disappeared due to the loss of habitat, particularly ephemeral water in which to breed and from various other environmental factors. I grew up with the cute little guys in the midwest, and would absolutely love to see some in the garden here, and would be happy to take steps to create good habitat for them and ensure their protection if I can. Since they don't exist naturally in the valley here, I understand that any toads coming into my garden would have to be introduced from another source/location. I certainly wouldn't want to create a problem, or bring them in if they would just be doomed from the start - which is why I'm writing to ask an expert :) Would bringing native western toads into my garden be a terrible idea? If it's not a terrible idea, what would be the most ethical way to acquire them? Thanks for your time and attention, have a great day! Bonnie in NE PDX

Multnomah County Oregon

4 Responses

Thank you for your question. Good for you! Here is a WSU Extension article with some information and ideas to accomplish this: Here’s another article: Hope these are helpful. Good luck!

Hello Kristena,

Thank you for your response. This is helpful information, similar to what my other research has offered, so I feel I have good solid information base from which to plan.

I am still wondering, though, how I might ethically acquire western toads to introduce into the habitat I am creating. From my readings, I've gathered that they don't live in the Willamette valley anymore, so I'd need to bring some in. Simply creating the habitat will probably not result in toads appearing (I wish!!).

Is there a breeding program in Oregon or Washington for this species that I might contact to ask about toads or spawn?

Is it legal to collect them from the wild though they are a threatened species in many areas? That doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

Purchasing this species from amphibian-keeping hobbyists might be an option, but I am concerned about the adaptability and hardiness of introducing indoor captive bred toads into the yard, as well as parasite and disease concerns.

Thanks again for your information!

I think your concerns are well-based, Bonnie. I’d suggest you take a ‘if you build it, they will come’ approach. Although we live in a rural area where they are undoubtedly more plentiful, we had some while I had a wetland area that had shelter and many insects. Water dried up; they disappeared. If you decide to create an acceptible habitat for them, you might not need to ‘import’ them. Here’s more:

Thanks for the info
I'll continue to work on creating the habitat and see what happens. We aren't far from the Columbia slough, so there may be a few in the area that may find us. I've never seen any, but here's to hoping :)