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My frogs and toads are dying.....

I have had a few tiny little cricket frogs and some small (perhaps juvenile?) fowlers toads in my garden. I have been trying to make them at home, since the aphids have been so bad this year. They seem to have helped. Well, the toads have just disappeared, I'm assuming they are just "moving on," but now I'm finding the carcasses of cricket frogs all over.

Now, when we get a summer rain, it can rain so hard and fast in such a short ammount of time, it isn't uncommon to see a couple of dead frogs, but these have been turning up even on sunny days. I keep finding them on my sidewalk just outside the flowerbed where they were living.

I have seen a praying mantis longer than my middle finger hanging around my garden. I left him alone because I read he'd help with the aphids too. I have seen him eating something that looked like it had a skeleton, though, I didn't get close enough to find out, but he is at least twice the size of the cricket frogs, which don't get much bigger than an inch and are the smallest vertebrates in north America.

I have been careful not to spray anything around the areas where I have seen the frogs and toads, and only use super certified organic stuff elsewhere. But now I'm worried that I might be killing them somehow.

And while I know that the proper thing to do is to let nature take it's course if the mantis is the culprit, I still hate it. The tiny frogs are just so much cuter than this monster of a mantis. LOL.

Is there anything I can do?

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Let's be detectives!

Examine the corpses: What are the condition of the little dead frogs? Are they whole? Shriveled? Decapitated/dismembered? Discolored/No sign of external damage -- I.e. poisoned, maybe?

Now for the possible suspects: I'm just guessing here but it seems to me that a praying mantis would chomp them up. Spiders might suck their fluids dry. Another possibility I can think of is that wasps or bees sting them to death -- (revenge for the big frogs/toads that ate their sisters? or just know that they're natural enemies?) If it were snakes or birds, they'd be swallowed and gone. Cats playing/batting them around? You say it's been raining so they're getting enough moisture right -- not hopping out of the protective cover in search of non-existent water?

There are several garden products that specifically warn against runoff into waterways because Amphibians are particularly sensitive. Any chance anything like that were used with or without your knowledge?


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Hm..... well, by the time I see them they are usually half devoured by the ants, but the skeletons seem intact, for the most part. We have had very few bees this year, but we have had major wasp issues, and this area has more spiders than anywhere I've ever lived or stayed for any length of time. Brown recluses and wolf spiders, both of which are predatory, are two of the most common. That could be it.

The weirdest one I saw was actually in the process of eating a worm when it met it's end. You could actually see the worm sticking out of it's mouth. The frogs do look oddly shriveled.

The Fowler's toads are poisonous, and I haven't seen any of them dead. Most of the birds in the area know to leave them alone. They are gone, but I know they get a bit bigger and will move off and spread out in search of more food.

As for the water, the survived the super dry hot spell we had for the last month. They've been turning up lately and we've actually been getting rain.

There is an old southern phrase that I mentioned in another thread that refers to a deluge of rain as a "frog strangler." It came from the fact that in the southeast, particularly spring through fall, it will go from no rain to dumping two inches in a 30 minute shower. This is the kind of rain that you will see people pulling over on the side of the road because you can't see. It isn't uncommon to see small dead frogs after these.

It just doesn't seem like the deaths are adding up to the rain showers, rather, they are turning up a couple of days later. I will have to check on my spray, because now that I'm thinking about it, that fits with the whole runoff theory. I have only been spraying my potted plants that are lining the walk, and not in the flower beds. But it's still possible that they are coming into contact with runoff.

I hate to think that I had anything to do with it. I was trying to be so careful! I am going to half to find something that I can use on my tomatoes and herbs that is safe. The bugs devour them if I don't, and I am trying to keep fungus off my tomatoes. There has to be some sort of homemade repellent that wont harm them, right?

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Oh crap.... I forgot that we have "perimeter protection" pest control. Basically, if I'm not at home, they will spray around the outside. I will have to check and see when the bug guy came last.

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frogs dying

Well, I'd definitely check on the possibility of poison, but the mantis seems like a suspect also:

Praying mantises eat insects and other invertebrates such as other mantises, beetles, butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, and even spiders. The praying mantises also eat vertebrates such as small tree frogs, lizards, mice and hummingbirds.

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Location: Santa Rosa, Ca

I hope it's something simple like predators or poison, because I've been hearing scary things about the frogs dying in Central America, some kind of fungus is killing them off. Frogs is Central America, bats in the North East, and bees all over the world... things are scary! :(
I'm trying to help by avoiding using poisons and making a nice environment for critters on my own property.

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chytrid fungus is what is killing off a lot of amphibians, especially frogs. I know it has been observed in cricket frogs in some populations. Chytrid is in the USA. Read about chytrid, and see if it is possible. Examining the skin could reveal some symptoms. Southern cricket frog (Acris gryllus) are hosts that are susceptible to the infection.

Also, amphibians can absorb toxins in their habitat.

Anyways, lots of dead frogs are not a healthy sign.

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