yard habitat for toads and turtles

Asked June 1, 2019, 7:41 AM EDT

Hello - I have a few wet and dark spots in my yard I'd like to improve to provide habitat for toads in my very hot veggie garden and turtles which I often find crossing the road. Can you make a video on how to plant layers, how to provide water (should I just put out a bowl, or do I have to dig the bowl into the ground) and other tips? I can't build a pond in my yard, but I can do small things to help out the native herps. Thanks so much!

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

We appreciate your interest in creating a habitat that is suitable for turtles and toads. Please be aware that turtles should not be taken from the wild. If you find them crossing the road, you can help them by moving them to the other side of the road (if you can do it safely), but just let them go on their way. Here is information from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. https://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2018/05/22/wild-turtles-should-never-be-taken-as-pets/

For toads, consider building a basic "toad abode" structure with a clay flower pot. Refer to the following publication (page 4) for instructions. You can place a saucer of shallow water near it. (Be sure to refresh the water every three days or so to prevent mosquito breeding.) http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/HabichatArchive/Habichat33.pdf

Take a look at the following website for recommended native plants that you could use in the shade/wet areas to create a layered habitat consisting of groundcovers, perennials, and low shrubs (search 'Piedmont' region). http://nativeplantcenter.net/

You might also look into creating a certified "Backyard Wildlife Habitat". The details of this program can be found here. https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Cover