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Lizards have made my hugelkultur their home.

 
Dale Hodgins
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Alligator lizards have moved into the sunniest mound. It gets really hot on the south slope. We're close to the northern limit for them. They thrive on clear cuts and on sites that have seen major natural disturbance. Forest fire, land slides, and blow down all produce suitable habitat. Dense forest is too cold.

They bask on the dark mat of coffee waste above the den opening. These critters are extremely shy. They hide under the potatoes and skitter to the den whenever I approach. They move quickly when their bodies are warm. Sow bugs inhabit the bed along with centipedes, ants and others.

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elle sagenev
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So funny. We discovered the very first lizard ever in our berm. We have created lizard paradise!
 
Matu Collins
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Lizards in Canada! I had no idea. We have no lizards in Rhode Island.
 
Dale Hodgins
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All of that rotting vegetation creates the perfect menu for our scaly friends. They need food, heat and cover.

Night can be cold. These mounds are solar collectors. They stay in their warm lair until the surface of the mound heats up. By 10 am. this time of year, they come out. Reproduction success is affected by available heat. Food can be digested through the night if the den is warm. This allows them to feed earlier in the day and to extend the season by digesting during inclement weather. All of this leads to faster growth rates and fatter lizards when it comes time to hibernate.

Temperature is moderated under mulch. Many bugs live deep in the mound, where there is little daily temperature swing. It would make sense for them to hunt down there on rainy days and as winter approaches.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Matu Collins wrote:Lizards in Canada! I had no idea. We have no lizards in Rhode Island.


We have seven native and one exotic species of lizard. The European wall lizard is common on the south tip of the island.

There are red sided garter snakes in the North West Territory. We have one boa and several rattle snakes.

British Columbia has more species of reptiles than any other province. We have rain forest, dry forest, desert, alpine meadows, grasslands, bogs and estuaries.
 
William Bronson
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Here in Cincinnati we have an imported lizard that is known to live in the old WPA stone walls and the many old stair ways which lead up our hills.
I had plans to kidnap a breeding population for my properties, as they are not known to be around my neighborhood of Price Hill, but low and behold they showed up of their own accord!
Apparently my wild yardens suited their needs, feels like a validation of sorts...
 
John Elliott
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Dale Hodgins wrote: Reproduction success is affected by available heat.


That would explain why my garden is lizard central. Skinks, anoles, and fence lizards are in great abundance everywhere I look. They are almost as numerous as the frogs and toads that have repopulated my patch of the Georgia pine woods.

It's amazing what you can do if you replace conventional agricultural methods with loads and loads of woods chips and deadfall.
 
Dale Hodgins
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William and John, wild creatures have validated both of your efforts. They could be anywhere and have chosen places that suit their needs. The best pesticide is a good pile of rock with a water feature. Snakes, lizards, frogs and toads choose these spots.
 
William Bronson
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Thanks Dale! It's good to be among like minds.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I saw five of the smallest snakes that I've ever seen today. They were on the south side of the hugel mound. It was a really cool morning at about 60 F. The snakes were active by 7:30 am. I felt the ground and it was warm. Then I dug some potatoes. They were warm. I'm guessing 80 degrees or more. Snakes who spend the night here, start their day with warm bodies and empty stomachs. When nights are warm, they digest their food while they rest. The young garter snakes probably emerged to feed.
 
Matu Collins
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Its true that I've seen more snakes since I built my hugels than before. I've counted four species this year within the space of half an acre and found one nest of eggs.

The bit about being able to digest during warm nights is interesting, I hadn't thought of it before but it makes perfect sense.
 
Dale Hodgins
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This allows them to feed earlier and consume more food in a season. While mamalian predators are limited mostly by food supply, reptiles are limited by digestion rate and their effective day length is determined by body temperature. Reproduction, growth rates, hibernation survival and predator evasion are positively affected by higher temperatures.
 
John Alabarr
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The year after I arranged logs around the bases of the trees in my fruit and nut tree orchard, I noticed a bunch of very small lizards. I had never seen very many of them on the property before that.
 
Josef Theisen
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That is really cool! I'm jealous.

The few species of lizards that Wisconsin offers are pretty rare. When I first started developing our property, I decided that having lizards spontaneously show up would be my goal post for success. Still working on it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Josef Theisen wrote:That is really cool! I'm jealous.

The few species of lizards that Wisconsin offers are pretty rare. When I first started developing our property, I decided that having lizards spontaneously show up would be my goal post for success. Still working on it.


You could have the perfect habitat and not get lizards if the neighboring land is not managed in a way that favors them. They're not big distance travelers. Babies of many creatures migrate only far enough to find their own territory. Now that nature is fragmented by highways and corn fields, many slow movers have pocket populations here and there, and they can become inbred or form subspecies over time. The British tradition of hedgerows, provided safe passage for critters to migrate through. Industrial agriculture is not so accommodating.

There's nothing wrong with bringing lizards to your place, provided you get permission from those charged with protecting wildlife. Some of yours may reproduce and migrate to the neighbor's place.
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This thread is about my snake pits. --- http://www.permies.com/t/37884/predators/Building-Snake-Lizard-Habitat-Winter
 
Dale Hodgins
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I thought I had alligator lizards and western skinks. According to a reptile expert, this is highly unlikely,  since there have only been a few unconfirmed sightings of the skink on this island.

 It turns out that the juvenile alligator lizard,  looks somewhat like a skink and I may have mistaken adults and juveniles as two separate species. If it turns out that I do have skinks,  they want to investigate further and possibly foster their spread to other areas.

 Alligator lizards thrive in places where humans have disturbed the forest,  so they are not in any danger of extinction. Most reptiles do poorly when humans alter the habitat.
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 There are only a few pocket populations of pointed nose snakes on the island. Some are near my place.  I've been told that the habitat I've created is ideal.

 I have been asked to get some better quality photos. If it appears that there are skinks or pointed nose snakes they will come to investigate. The hugelkultur mounds provide everything that these little creatures need.  If they can help raise the numbers of rare wildlife, that would be a good thing.
 
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