Dragons in your garden

P Brooks

Shy reptiles have a real sense of the wild about them, but did you know they can be found in many garden settings?

Reptiles can be found in many gardens, even in quite urban settings. You are most likely to have common lizards, slow worms or grass snakes, depending on local conditions. In this blog, we will talk about their different requirements and how your garden can be a home fit for these mini-dragons.

In our last garden, in a housing estate in a large town, we often saw lizards as we approached the front door. It was a dry spot, with plenty of hiding places, and a real sun trap. Lizards also frequent our allotment where there are warm spots and cover. If you have lizards, you can provide good habitat with sunny rockeries and log piles. Lizards eat insects and spiders so there also needs to be good habitat for their prey.

Lizard in garden

Lizard basking on black matting at our allotment - P Brooks

We regularly saw slow worms in our last garden and have a healthy population in our current garden. Slow worms love compost heaps and hiding places such as gaps beneath loose paving. They are the gardener’s friend as their diet includes slugs.

slow worms in garden

Slow worms enjoy the warmth of the compost heap especially with additional protection from a piece of old carpet - P Brooks

We count ourselves privileged to have grass snakes in our current garden. They need water which is provided by the adjacent River Eden and the ponds in our garden. They particularly love our wildlife pond, as well as somewhere to bask in the sun or to hide in the dense vegetation, which provides a corridor to the wilder conditions of the riverbank. They also like compost heaps. Grass snakes eat amphibians, fish and small mammals. We recently witnessed a small grass snake pursue and catch a tadpole.

garden

Grass snake basking in the vegetation close to our pond - P Brooks

Our 'Wild About Gardens' scheme is offering advice to gardeners in Kent by telephone this year. Enter your garden into the scheme here and our trained Wild About Garden volunteers will do their best to answer your questions. The scheme includes an award, sponsored by Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG), for the best dragon garden

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