Make a home for wildlife
16 August 2010
Image: Graham Catley
The UK only has a few species of reptile and amphibian, with an almost equal number of alien and introduced species. Most are shy and seldom seen and soon react to vibrations from approaching feet or shadows cast by humans.
Amphibians are frequently encountered in gardens, particularly common frogs, common toads and smooth newts. Some established ponds might have palmate and great crested newts (the latter are specially protected by law). The three reptiles most likely to be encountered are viviparous lizard, slow worm (a legless lizard) and grass snake.
A well-managed garden, containing a well-structured lawn, good cover in borders, a pond, rocks and dead wood can provide lots of sheltering, basking and hibernating places for amphibians and reptiles.
A piece of tin left in a discrete, but warm, location will encourage lizards and snakes to shelter underneath and bask on top. A tin makes it easier to see and appreciate these beautiful animals before they slip away, as you can quietly and carefully approach the tin and watch from a safe distance.
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