Lizards and other small reptiles are an important part of any healthy ecosystem. Why not make your garden a haven for lizards in need of shelter?
Native Australian plants encourage reptiles and all kinds of native animals and insects. Lizards are naturally attracted to areas with vegetation and food sources that are familiar to them. Of course, the kind of vegetation a muscly bobtail prefers is different to the type a slender skink looks for and so it is important to provide a variety of areas with different ground cover.
Providing areas of heavy vegetation and shade as well as sparse areas with lots of sunlight will simulate a natural reptile habitat.
Food to be Found
It is important not to feed reptiles in your garden. They will find the food they need. A native garden with lots of vegetation will encourage insects for lizards to feed on. You could include a strawberry plant as a delicious treat for Bobtails.
Hide and Seek
Lizards love having cracks and crevices to hide in, under and around. Rocks and logs can be used, but be sure not to remove these from the wild (they might already be a home to other animals!). PVC pipes and holed bricks can also be used to provide shelter for reptiles in your garden.
Drink it Up
Putting a wet area, such as a pond, in your garden is a great way to encourage lizards to visit. As well as providing them with somewhere to drink, a wet area attracts frogs and insects.
Basking in the Sunlight
Lizards are ectothermic which means their body is warmed and cooled by their environment (not by their body). Somewhere safe to ‘sun themselves’ is a matter of life-and-death for many reptiles. Flat rocks, old tin or roofing tile provide fantastic surfaces for reptiles to bask on or under.
A small compost area filled with mulch, bark and leaf litter attracts reptiles. Make sure this area has good sunshine and is close to ground-cover so lizards can get to it stealthily whenever they want. Compost also attracts insects and snails for reptiles to eat.
Reptiles have several natural predators found around gardens. Birds are a natural predator, but cats and dogs attack reptiles so try to create reptile-friendly areas in places your pets can’t go (like the front garden).
Avoid using chemicals and (non-organic) fertilisers in and around your garden as they may harm lizards. Lizards eat insects and snails, so if these are contaminated with pest-control pellets then lizards may become ill. Use environmentally friendly alternatives to rid your garden of pests.
Local lizards you might see in your Perth garden:
- Shingleback Skink (Tiliqua rugosa)
- Western Blue-tongue (Tiliqua occipitalis)
- Burton’s Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis)
- Binoe’s Prickly Gecko (Heteronotia binoei)
- Western Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor)
- Common Dwarf Skink (Menetia greyii)