common frog

Info & advice

Compost heaps

A sunny, south-facing compost heap makes an excellent reptile habitat. Slow-worms, in particular, are often found buried within them, feeding on the numerous slugs and ants. Frogs, toads and newts may also forage or hibernate in a compost heap.

Pre-formed compost bins can be less accessible but if there are holes or gaps then they may also be used. You can construct your own compost heap out of old pallets – these will provide plenty of access points for wildlife. If you leave piles of grass or leaves around the garden, these will also attract amphibians and reptiles.

Cover your compost heap or grass pile with an old carpet or tarpaulin for extra protection and basking opportunities. Checking under this cover can be a great way to get a closer look at the creatures living in your garden.

Grass snakes sometimes use compost heaps to lay their eggs in. There is a good, constant temperature within the heap, allowing the eggs to incubate whilst being well-protected from predators. Grass snake eggs are white and leathery in texture and measure around 2.5cm. There are usually 10-15 eggs in a clutch, though there can be up to 40. Several females may use the same site to incubate their eggs. If you have seen a grass snake visiting your compost heap, be careful not to disturb it in late summer when there may be eggs present.

compost heap
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