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Wednesday, 23 November 2011 15:04

A new twist on backyard habitats

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There are butterfly gardens and wildlife-oriented gardens, so why not reptile and amphibian gardens, too?

For people looking to make their property more inviting to frogs, toads, lizards and snakes, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has on its website a new publication that provides tips on creating suitable habitat.

Reptiles and Amphibians in Your Backyard is a color, eight-page publication that was produced by biologists from N.C. State University, the wildlife commission, N.C. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

“Many of the practices explained in the book to attract reptiles and amphibians are easy and fairly quick to do, even for folks who aren’t gardeners,” said Jeff Hall, a wildlife commission biologist. “It’s mainly a matter of taking these critters into consideration when managing your lawn and garden. Things such as adding a water garden, planting native vegetation, providing shelter such as rock piles and log and brush piles, and limiting the use of pesticides and chemicals are simple yet effective techniques to create a backyard habitat that will attract a wide variety of wildlife.”

Even better for wildlife enthusiasts, these same practices and techniques will also attract birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife to a backyard.

Along with habitat tips, the book provides information on the life history of reptiles and amphibians as well as the ecological importance of “herps,” as reptiles and amphibians are collectively called.

More than 160 species of reptiles and amphibians are found in North Carolina, and many of them are common to urban and suburban areas. However, some species have experienced declining populations over the last decade due to a variety of factors stemming from the state’s rapid growth.

Check it out at www.ncparc.org/pubs/Reptiles%20and%20Amphibians%20in%20Your%20Backyard_final.pdf.

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