Pig pond

This muddy pool looks, well, let's face it, pretty unattractive

It’s always useful to see the ways in which ponds are made naturally as this usually will gives valuable clues to the best designs for wildlife.

So I was pleased a few days ago to see another example of the work of a creature fairly well-known to make small, garden-pond sized, ponds: the Wild Boar.

This little pond, made in the base of a summer dry clay-lined depression in Northern Italy – just outside Trieste – is a breeding ground for the Yellow-bellied Toad, one of the cutest little amphibians to be found on the continent, but sadly absent from Britain.

The Yellow-bellied Toad is well named - this is one from the muddy pig pool

Yellow-bellied Toads are specialists of the kind of little muddy ponds that the pigs make.

And what is the lesson for garden ponds? Well, this pond is entirely satisfactory as a habitat for the toads – yet it is only a few inches deep, and completely devoid of vegetation. Perhaps the lesson here is that what’s good for wildlife often looks completely awful from a human perspective! Yet this little hole in the ground has clean water – there are no nearby pollutant sources – is very shallow, and also has extremely gently shelving edges, the three key features of many good wildlife garden ponds.

But I don’t suppose we’re going to see too many gardeners opting for a muddy hollow in the middle of the lawn for wildlife just yet.

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One Response to “Pig pond”

  1. pondolive Says:

    Very cute Jeremy! But until I move to an area with yellow-bellied toads in it I don’t think I’m tempted…

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