This amphibian will probably never win a popularity contest with humans. However, those who find toads in their gardens or flowerbeds shouldn’t be scared – they should be thankful. Toads won’t bite you, but they’ll take a bite out of your insect problems.

Many people have always had a slight disdain for toads, probably because of their bumpy “warty” skin. However, people would have a greater interest in toads if they knew more about them.

People can learn more about toads at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) free virtual program “Toads.” This online program will be from 10-10:30 a.m. on Aug. 25 and is being put on by the staff of MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center. This program is designed for all ages. People can register for this program at:

https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174083

The American toad, which is found throughout Missouri, is one of the most common toad species found in the U.S. In Missouri, toads are largely nocturnal. During the day, they hide under rocks in areas where there is loose, moist dirt or they burrow into a depression where dead leaves and other vegetative matter has collected. Their natural habitat is in rocky, wooded areas along the edges of hardwood forests, but as many homeowners can attest to, they also have an affinity for gardens, flowerbeds and overgrown edges of yards.

Their “warty” appearance and the fright that a sudden jump of a startled toad can give to an unsuspecting gardener are probably reasons why this amphibian will never win a popularity contest with humans. However, those who find toads in their gardens or flowerbeds shouldn’t be scared – they should be thankful. Toads won’t bite you, but they’ll take a bite out of your insect problems. Included in a toad’s diet are a number of creatures that can be troublesome garden pests.

Though this program is free, registration is required to participate using the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/regions.