A Boreal Toad Calls the Homestead Home

By , August 4, 2010

A few days ago, Michelle came into the house with her hands cupped. Moving quickly to the table, she asked me to pull out the camera and take a picture of what she held. When I was ready, she opened her hands, and a small green animal began hopping all around the table. She had found a boreal toad in the garden!

boreal toad

What's your hurry? A boreal toad flees homestead hospitality (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

I took several photos of the table top before she cornered the toad with cupped hands, and I managed to get a decent shot. She immediately returned it to the garden where, after all the excitement, it perched calmly on the side of her hand for a few moments before hopping off.

We knew there were toads in the region, but this is the first one we’ve found on the peninsula. We’re especially pleased to find it in the garden, where they’re especially beneficial. I learned that they don’t make much noise above a weak peep, which explains why we’ve never heard it or its kind here. We hope it’s not alone!

2 Responses to “A Boreal Toad Calls the Homestead Home”

  1. Nathan Robertson says:

    Hi Mark, I’m anticipating moving to Alaska next year in March and attempting to establish a homestead of my own. I’ve been planning and doing research for about two years now and think I’m ready to make it happen. Despite many searches for Alaska-related blogs in the past, I just discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading it over the course of the past few days. The excerpts you provided for some of the stories in Shy Ghosts Dancing intrigued me and I am looking forward to receiving your book, newly purchased, from Amazon. I wanted to thank you for all the valuable information in the blog but also ask a quick question about this post. I assume the boreal toad is beneficial because it consumes unwanted insects and other pests, but I was just curious if you are aware of what specifically the toad is getting rid of for you? Thanks again!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Nathan, thank you very much for checking out the blog, and for buying the book!

    Our main delight about the boreal toads in the garden is that they find it a nice place to live. Toad and frogs are, as you probably know, disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate, to the point of possible extinction. Any succor we can provide them make us feel good.

    Toads in the garden are considered beneficial, specifically for controlling slugs and snails. We have no slugs on our property for some strange reason, for which we are very grateful. They thrive in SE Alaska, and decimate gardens everywhere but here, so far. We do have some snails, but we assume the toads are eating most of them. They also eat any insect they can catch, which means they eat a few beneficials, like pollinators, but many problem bugs as well.

    I’d be very interested in hearing more about your plans for your homestead. If you’d like to carry on the conversation outside of our comments section, please feel free to email us at AKZeigers@”Geemail dot com.”

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