Gardening with care
The garden can be a hazardous place for amphibians and reptiles – here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of harm to these creatures…
- Mowing the Lawn- be careful when mowing the lawn especially if you’ve noticed froglets recently emerging from the pond. Adult frogs too like to sit in long grass in the summer months, so carefully walk the area you’re planning to mow before you start. Most amphibians and reptiles in the garden should be disturbed by your footfalls and will move on.
- Chemicals- Avoid the use of pond tonics and garden chemicals as the effects of many of these on amphibians are still unknown. Even organic products can disturb the natural balance of a pond. Amphibians (and Slow-Worms) are excellent natural pest-controllers and pesticides remove their prey, forcing them to hunt elsewhere.
- Pets- Cats are a particular predator of amphibians and reptiles in urban areas. Increase the number of hiding places in your garden (such as rockeries, openings around your compost heap or a pond) to help reduce the likelihood of cats and other predators catching them.
- Netting- Garden netting can trap and kill wildlife. Grass Snakes, in particular, may become entangled in pond netting with a mesh size of less than 5cm.
- Paving- Be wary of paving slabs near the pond during summer – on hot days emerging amphibians can quickly dry out and die. In the short term, temporarily cover these areas with a damp towel or moist lawn roll to stop this happening and in future make sure there is plenty of planting up to the edge of the pond.
Your garden can be extremely beneficial to the amphibians and reptiles in the local area, providing they can get there in the first place. Linking up suitable habitats with ‘wildlife corridors’ is very important for making sure populations don’t become isolated.
Chat with your neighbours about how they can make their gardens more accessible (e.g. leaving a small gap under a fence) and make sure amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife have the freedom to roam around your local area. You could also think about joining local volunteer or ‘Friends of’ groups to help keep public spaces wildlife-friendly.
If your garden becomes isolated – by roads or new housing – you may be tempted to import some animals or spawn from elsewhere. There are two main reasons why this is not a good idea – firstly, you may accidentally introduce disease or undesirable animals or plants into the pond which could be very detrimental. Also, there could be other reasons why the animals are not there in the first place which need to be considered.
Find more tips for your very own wildlife corridor in our free Garden Guardians booklet.