Known for their slimy skin, bulging eyes and croaking sound, Frogs and toads are of great benefit to the gardener and should be encouraged as they keep down the number of garden pests that may be eating your plants. Frogs are different from toads in that frogs live predominately in water as opposed to toads who spend most of their time on land but near water for egg-laying. They are both from the same short-bodied, tailless amphibian order although frogs are in general longer than toads, smooth-skinned and shiny whereas toads are shorter and have dry and bumpy skin. Frogs and Toads’ diet consists mainly of snails, earthworms, all types of insects and even small fish. So, if it fits into that broad mouth, they will give it a go, but one question remains… Do Frogs Eat Slugs?
What are Slugs?
Slugs are shell-less Gastropod Molluscs that are the Bain of the horticultural gardener. They destroy most plants and vegetables by eating leaves, stems, flowers, tubers and bulbs and some slugs are even known to be cannibalistic.
Where do Slugs Live?
Slugs like high moisture areas such as under garden pots and planters, untidy garden areas where rubble has accumulated, and under loose slabs or boards. In fact, anywhere they can keep out of the sun and keep moist.
Are Slugs Dangerous to Pets?
Slugs can be hazardous to pets like cats and dogs, the slimy mucus can cause excessive salivation and extreme vomiting in some cases if ingested. Some also carry a parasite called “rat lungworm” which if contracted by ingestion can affect the brain and spinal cord, this is in the extreme and predominately in poorer third-world countries.
Do Frogs Eat Slugs?
Yes, frogs certainly do eat slugs and they constitute a large proportion of a frog’s diet. Just a single adult frog will greatly reduce the number of slugs you will see. Frogs are a gardener’s best friend and although they are omnivores, most species are predominately carnivores and will eat most things that come within reach of their tongue and is able to fit in their mouth. Frogs will also eat many other creatures that you will find in and around the garden pond.
How to Attract Frogs to the Garden?
As previously mentioned, frogs live mainly in water, they like a moist, shaded area as their skin will easily dry out. So, the best environment is a ponded garden, but you can achieve the same by sinking an old basin or bucket up to the lip. Put sand in the bottom and stack stones to allow the frog to exit the makeshift pond easily. Place a few pond plants inside as this will give shade and protection during egg-laying. Frogs and toads like to hide beneath things for shade and security, so something as simple as a garden slab placed on a couple of bricks would be ideal.
NOTE: All handling of frogs should be accompanied by the washing of hands, as the slime may contain bacteria from the water or surroundings.
Making your Garden Friendly for Other Predators of Slugs
Not only will frogs eat slugs, but there are also many other predators who will willingly help rid your garden of slugs, namely hedgehogs, field mice, shrews and garden birds. These also should be encouraged if you are to reduce the slug population dramatically.
Hedgehogs like to hide during daylight hours so propping a waterproof board against a wall with vegetation around you could create an ideal habitat but remember they do hibernate and if they chose this area please be careful throughout winter.
Help to encourage hedgehogs by putting out a saucer of milk and some morsels of meat, initially away from the house as they are shy creatures. But you can decrease distance after a while once they get used to you.
Birds can be tempted into your garden by a regular feeding regime, but don’t overfeed or they won’t look for the slugs. Feeding must be kept up throughout the winter period or they will lose interest and go elsewhere.
Mice and Shrew
As for mice and shrews, by having stones and cover around your garden they will have a feeling of safety and security and somewhere to hide so this is the best option to attract these animals.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Slugs
There are lots of chemical preparations on the market for controlling slugs but here are a few domestic ones that work just as well.
Slugs are known to dislike environments containing Wormwood, Rue, Fennel, Anise and Rosemary.
Coffee grounds, granules and residue repel slugs and kill them if contacted.
White vinegar in a spray will kill slugs but beware of getting it on the leaves of plants.
Soapy water spray melts them by removing their protective coating of slime.
NOTE: These are all store cupboard items so no excessive costs and are better for the environment than chemical preparations.
Frogs definitely do eat slugs along with many other garden pests that would like nothing more than to eat your plants. The benefit of encouraging frogs into your garden is that it helps to maintain healthy flora. Frogs live for 10 to 12 years and if the environment suits them, they will stay around to help keep your garden clear of these pests for many years to come.
Did You Know?
“Frogs are found on all continents except for Antarctica!”
“There are over 6000 species of frog!”
“Fossils of frogs have been found dating back to the Triassic period, but it is widely believed that they actually date back to the Permian period some 265 million years ago!”
“A female frog can lay between 2,000 and 50,000 at one time, these will incubate depending on climate and location between 2 and 23 days. The resulting tadpole will mature into a frog in 2 to 3 months but at each stage, they are prone to predators!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Do frogs eat large slugs?
Yes, Frogs will eat slugs of any size. If the slug fits in the frog’s mouth, it will eat it. Slugs and snails are a favourite food of frogs and make up a large part of a frog’s diet.
Do toads and frogs eat slugs?
Slugs make up a large part of the diet of amphibians in the UK. Frogs and toads will seek out and eat slugs so having a pond may well benefit your garden.
How do frogs eat snails?
A frog will catch a snail with its super quick tongue and then swallow the snail whole – shell included!
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.