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Garden Downspouts & Frogs

By Lucinda Gunnin ; Updated September 21, 2017
American tree frogs can be a great addition to your garden and may hide in your downspout.
green tree frog image by Timothy Lubcke from Fotolia.com

Creating a decorative appearance on garden and housekeeping necessities can be fun and whimsical. Decorative frogs are a popular option for disguising downspouts. But what happens when the real thing decides that your downspout is a great place to take up residence?


Green tree frogs are the most common type of frog to take up residence in downspouts, but they are not the only ones. In a wet climate, the downspout may be a perfect habitat for your neighborhood frog. Though the American green tree frog usually prefers trees near lakes, farm ponds or floodplain sloughs, an active downspout will do in a pinch, especially in there is standing water below the downspout. American green tree frogs usually lay their eggs in shallow water.


Tree frogs feed on insects and worms, including moths, mosquitoes and flies. Since mosquitoes breed in shallow standing water, and frogs like same to hatch their tadpoles, a green tree frog addition to your garden may not be a bad thing. The frogs will be come cannibalistic if another food supply is unavailable, but generally can be counted on to remove pesky insects from the area where they live.


American green tree frogs usually grow to a maximum of about 2 1/2 inches long. A single tree frog is not going to pose a significant danger to your home's drainage system if it takes up residence in a downspout. The frogs are not dangerous, but when cleaning the gutters and downspouts, be sure to look out for frogs and other critters that have taken up residence.


Several commercial products exist to help keep frogs and other small animals out of downspouts. Gutter guards and self-flushing gutter systems can prevent the downspout from becoming an appealing habitat for frogs. Another key to frog-infestation prevention is to make sure that water discharged from the downspout is not allowed to collect at the bottom of the pipe. Regular maintenance of the gutters and downspouts will make them less appealing to frogs.


A frog or two, or even a frog infestation in the downspouts, is unlikely to cause any major trouble except for the possibility of startling the owner during maintenance. The fact that frogs eat insects in and around your garden can be considered a positive by-product.


About the Author


Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.