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A toad house (someplace to hide) and a little bit of water (not a pond necessarily, but a little steady source of water) will help. The toad house can be just a pile of rocks in a shady spot where the shy friend can feel protected yet still see out. The diet is insects, so we have to rely on the surroundings for food.
I tell ya, I wish I knew the answer to this one, lol! I have at least three toad houses in my gardens, all in nice shady, secluded spots, with a little tray of water next to them, and nary a toad to be seen.
However, we are constantly finding toads on my back patio. Mind you, my back patio is an open, heavily-trafficked area of 21x16 feet of dry hot bricks, surrounded by a huge square (30x30 at least) patch of black asphalt, all of which is bathed in blazing hot sun all day...
make sure they have nice loose dirt to dig into. That's where they camoflage themselves. I put broken terra cotta pots around on the ground to shelter them, and you can ALWAYS find a toad (and frog and anole) at my place.
I am overrun with toads/frogs from tiny to rat sized. They seem to favor the areas with stone walls to hide in and sprinklers. As I garden, the hop into the stonewalls to hide. They snuggle into the mulch.
Last year, I had a toad living in a urn-type container on the patio. When I suddenly appeared, he would leap onto the adjoining dahlia in order to get into his plant. Then hop into his resessed area in the mulch in the urn and "hide". The plant wasn't flourishing exactly, so he was full visible, but I pretended not to see him and carefully watered around my little friend.
I had a funny experience with a toad last night. As I took Her Majesty Brigid the Magnificent Empress of Everything out for her last little walkies of the day, there was a toad on the threshhold. Glad I didn't startle him into jumping into the house where the cats are. But I watched him while Brigid did her little business and he veeeerrrryyyy slooooowwwwlllyyy flattened himself out. I guess he believed he was making himself smaller and thus less visible. It was interesting. I just stroked him very gently, partly because I can't not touch and partly to keep him concerned enough to stay still when I opened the door again. It was cool.
I had a 2.5 inch hole appear in one of my garden beds last week. The mouth of the hole had no dirt piled up and the hole went down about a foot then curved away. My husband said that it looked to him more like something dug it's way out than dug its way in. It was weird. Soon afterwards, I saw a toad. I am wondering if the toad and the hole are realted and, if the toad is still using the hole. I would kind of like to fill it in but, I dont want to harm anything down there. Of course, I dont want some big old snake or rat moving in to the hole either.
I just "acquired" a couple of salamanders (very cute!) as a hidden bonus at the bottom of a big plant I got at a plant sale. I'd really love to have them stick around and eat all my slugs and snails. Will the toad suggestions work for them? Last time I saw them they were burrowing back into the soil of my new, now transplanted, plant. I've been trying to keep it well-watered and have tossed a few slugs in there. I decided not to use synthetic fertilzer just in case it would somehow harm them.