I live in the Scottish Borders in an old stone house with a small garden - with lots of bird feeders, water trays, brush pile and two hedgehog houses. There’s also a garden room attached to the kitchen, unheated, where I over-Winter plants (geranium, agapanthus, etc.) in gravel trays. Going in late at night to close the window, I’m seeing a tiny brown frog/toad, around 1" long crawling/jumping behind the pots closest to the windows. Should I help it outside? Create a spot for it to over-Winter? feed it? There are still small slugs around on the cement floor, but the veg pots (tomatoes, cucumber) have been emptied, so there are fewer insects about, except those at the nectar on the hoya. Help, any suggestions welcomed?
Hi! Welcome to the forum
It sounds like this little toad is looking for their first hibernation spot. As things start to cool down in Autumn, they start to slow down and find a safe place away from predators and the worst of the weather for 4-5 months and emerge around March to look for a mate.
We had a toad hibernating under our fridge freezer, I think it got out in the Spring when we started leaving the door open… so it’s a tough call. Your garden room may turn out to be the best spot in the garden… Personally, I’d let it stay there but there are other options as you say, there are specific products for overwintering amphibians on The Wildlife Community shop but there may be a log or stone pile, overturned plant pot or similar hibernaculum already available.
Just imagine… that young toad could live for up to 40 years!
Thanks for this. I’m happy to let it stay but I’m not sure it’s big enough to scramble up over the lip of the gravel trays. I can create a home out of a flowerpot on its side, what should I stuff it with? there’s soil/compost/hay/straw available. I’ve left out a clay saucer of water, but should I feed it? and what with?
No problem! There’s some useful advice on the Froglife website you shouldn’t need to do any feeding, they like to eat slugs, spiders and other insects. Oh and I should have said, toads don’t totally hibernate - they do wander around on warmer days snacking before they head back to sleep.
Also this from RSPB