Fellow Feeling


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This is a picture of a common toad. You may think he or she (no need to worry about the 20 or possibly 30 or even 40 variables of gender in the toad world) is not a thing of much beauty but to gardeners toads are much more welcome than any strangers.

They choose to dine on slugs, worms, insects and spiders. As far as I’m concerned they’re welcome to the lot—the more the better. As for habitat they prefer ponds, rock piles, log piles, meadows and woodland and fairly roughish gardens. If you see any in your garden please nurture them tenderly. You can tell them from frogs by their rather warty skins and their beautiful golden eyes. They are much drier than frogs and don’t spend much time in water. They crawl rather than hop, which makes them easier to catch, and less alarming.


Pond and rock pile-toads for the use of

Apart from all these advantages the main reason I, as a misfitting Anglican, have such a fellow feeling for toads is because their numbers have fallen by two thirds in 30 years. We threatened species have to stick together.


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Mr Toad from Wind in the Willows. Still going strong after 108 years.

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