Written by Ellia Cobb, Transforming Lives Trainee.
As the weather is getting colder and the temperature starts to drop, reptiles and amphibians are getting ready for brumation. Brumation is similar to hibernation in that it is a state of deep sleep undergone throughout the colder months as they cannot survive winter conditions. Amphibians and reptiles will however come out to forage during warmer periods.
There are different things you can do at this time of year to help brumating animals such as building your own hibernaculum or creating a log pile. Creating a hibernaculum is simple and if you have leftover garden waste from the summer, this is a great use for it!
You start by digging a hole, it doesn’t have to be too wide or deep, just enough to retain heat to keep reptiles and amphibians warm. Once you have done this, you can start filling the hole with logs, rocks and bricks. Once you have filled some of the hole, you can start piling the larger logs and sticks a little higher than ground level to then cover with softer things such as leaf litter and bramble (these help to trap the warmth). Finally, you can use the mud you dug up to then cover up the hibernaculum, remembering to leave some gaps so that the animals can get in and out.
If you don’t like the idea of digging, log piles can be just as effective by stacking logs, branches, rocks and leaf litter. This also makes a great habitat for brumating reptiles and amphibians.
It is super important not to disturb compost heaps, log piles or even piles of leaves during the colder months.
You can find even more resources and ideas for making your green space more wildlife-friendly here.