Recently I went on a free workshop held by my local council. The intent was to raise awareness of the plight of lizards and other reptiles in suburbia. Like many native animals, they are suffering loss of habitat and falling victim to predators (again, cats being the worst offenders).
The fun bit of the workshop was making little refuges for our backyard critters. We were given a huge block of clay and some basic instructions with some ideas about what kind of home would be useful to which animals, then we were let lose.
By the end of the workshop I had 4 pieces:
- A fake log that would be good for large lizards like the blue tongue. (As it turns out, my bob tail lizard isn’t local. The expert at the workshop assumes it is a released pet – all the more reason to give it a good home.) The 2 tiny “branches” are also hollow and should be good for spiders.
- A fake stone to go in the end of the log – the expert said skinks really don’t like a large opening on both sides so suggested I either jam my “log” up against a fence or I stick a rock in the end. The rock has a hole in it making it a nice home for smaller lizards as well.
- A fake piece of curled bark with multiple hidey spots. The leaves looked a lot more leaf-like before the clay was baked – oh well, I doubt the lizards will care.
- A fake log that can be hung on a tree, fence or similar for frogs. The male frogs like hollows that work as amplifiers for their croaks. I guess loud croaks drive girl-frogs into a lustful frenzy.
Now all I have to do is find good places to put my reptile-houses and wait for critters to move in. One criteria is they have to be where my chickens can’t reach them. Chickens love tiny lizards, maybe even more than cats do. I’d never forgive myself if I created a perfect environment and lured lizards in, only for my girls to eat them!
Cool! I predict you’ll be surprised by how quickly they find it. A toad found the under-rock hidey-hole I made last year in just a couple weeks.
I am always amazed at how fast animals find things – ripe sunflowers, sprouting radishes, chicken feed… I guess build it and they will come totally applies in the garden.
Our frogs do their serenading from the gutters and downpipes….gosh they can be loud sometimes. We have tons of lizards in the garden – I always hear their scurrying around and then am relieved that it is just another lizard.
I suppose you need to be happy it isn’t a croc – now that’s a lizard – in your garden.
When I lived in Darwin we had a local frog that climbed into the downpipe on our front verandah and serenaded the neighbourhood most nights. I’d have to turn the volume on my TV as high as it would go when he was in good form. My clay pipe is going to be a fair way away from the house – in the very centre of my garden – so I won’t be subjected to that volume. I wonder if tropical frogs are noiser than the Sydney variety or if I’ve just been spared the worst of it.
My Sweety came running into the new house the other day screaming that there was a komodo dragon in the front yard. When I got out there it had mysteriously morphed into 1.5″ gecko.
It was probably a trick of the light, Karen wouldn’t make that kind of mistake otherwise 🙂
I love the idea of homes for suburban reptiles, I’ve never heard of it before.
I guess it’s the reptile equivalent of insect hotels. I’d never heard of either a couple of years ago. Making a safe place for lizards may not be a trendy as making a safe place for pollinators, but, like you, I love the idea anyway!