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[18] Make homes for lizards - DoC tell us how

- New Zealand has geckos with baggy, velvety skin and broad heads and skinks with sleek,
smooth-skin. They look like small snakes with legs.
- Lizards help scatter the seeds of some of our native plants and may also pollinate their flowers.
-

Lizards will love your backyard if they have food and shelter.

Directions
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1. Prepare your garden before making homes for lizards Untidy gardens are great for lizards.
They need places to hide and cover when hunting, feeding and resting, they also need shelter
when it’s really hot or really cold Lizards like to squeeze into body sized holes no more than
5-19 mm wide.

They like plenty of holes because many lizards are territorial so they need their own space.
They like their homes to stay in one place too. If it’s disturbed, they’ll move out and they
might not have anywhere else to go. Lizards need escape sites and they don’t really mind
what they’re made of.

Any old non-toxic building like old roofing iron can become a good home for lizards. Plants can
grow around or over them so they can look quite tidy. Look around your backyard and find a
warm, dry, sunny place. The most important thing for lizards is cover. You can use rock or
wood piles to create some cover.
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2. Use rock piles to create cover for lizards. Use old concrete, bricks and stones and stack
them loosely so there are plenty of cracks and holes. Spiders, slaters and beetles will head
inside, especially when it’s cold. That’s good news for the lizards that feed on them. Smear
yoghurt on some stones and lichens might grow. If your rock pile turns into a rockery, plant
bulbs like crocuses between the rocks. Your insects will have an early nectar and pollen supply.
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3. Use wood piles to create cover for lizards. A good pile of dead wood is an adventure
playground for lizards. Pile up a few logs and bits of wood and leave them to slowly rot,
undisturbed. Let the fungi grow!

It takes hold and helps recycle rotting wood by breaking it down. It makes good food
for slugs and snails which in turn attracts birds.
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4. Grow plants in your backyard that will attract lizards Plant thickly is the rule. Lizards need
safe habitats to run to when cats are on the prowl. That means thick ground-cover, vines
and dense plant growth on banks. Berry or nectar producing plant species are good, especially
native divaricating shrubs, and if you have a range of plants the lizards will have plenty to eat,
all year round.

Coprosma species and kawakawa provide fruit and flax, while manuka and rata give nectar.
Ferns, tussock grasses and rengarenga provide thick ground cover and attract insects for the
lizards to eat. Plants like speargrass and the shrubby tororaro offer protection from predators.

Vines such as New Zealand clematis and climbing rata connect habitats, and cabbage trees
form in clumps for good cover. A local nursery should have a range of plants native to your
area and if you grow organically or limit the sprays you use, your lizards will do very well indeed.
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5. Wait patiently. Make a lizard-friendly backyard and wait patiently. If your lizards have
already gone, it may be a little while before they return.

 

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JUNE 2011

WAIRIO TREE PLANTING
23rd June 2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
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