Common gecko
PHOTO: Sabine Bernert ©

Introduction

Get involved in conserving our lizards by creating a lizard lounge in your garden. Earn a Kiwi Guardians medal for becoming a habitat creator!

Lounging lizards love to bask in the sun. Lizards can thrive in suburban gardens and rural properties if they have the food and shelter they need.  

Did you know…?

There are lots of reasons to attract lizards to your garden:

  • More than 99 species of lizard live in New Zealand
  • There are two types of lizards: geckos and skinks. They are easy to tell apart as skinks have sleek bodies whereas geckos have velvety skin. Geckos are also unique in that they don’t have eyelids but instead lick their eyeballs which have clear membranes to protect them.
  • 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

Explore your backyard

Start searching for the perfect spot to establish your lizard lounge. Prime locations include warm, dry and sunny areas. If you already have any tussocks or rocks in your garden, then you’re off to a great start. Shrubs with wide angled branches that intertangle are perfect for thick ground cover.

If you’ve managed to find any of the above items, then these will also be useful in creating the comfiest lounge around.

Build a lizard lounge

Lizards enjoy hiding between cracks and under cover so any natural or found objects will provide great opportunities for designing your lounge.

Do you have any of the following materials lying around?

  • Rotting logs
  • Rocks
  • Bits of old bark
  • Terracotta tiles
  • Corrugated iron pieces
  • Old building material i.e. planks of wood
  • Firewood

Stack any of the above items loosely so there are plenty of cracks and holes. If you’re creating plenty of spaces for lizards to squeeze into then they are likely to do just that. Try experimenting with different materials and keep track of what is most effective. Observe the different lizard types – do certain objects appeal more to particular species?

Handy hints for making a lizard lounge

  • Lizards appreciate their privacy so choosing a spot that has thick ground cover will help them feel right at home.
  • Sweet treats such as berries and nectar are an attractive option for lizards. This gives them a balanced diet of fruit and insects to nibble on. Try planting low-lying shrubs that supply tasty morsels for you guests.
  • Lizards are vulnerable to mammals and, while backyard visitors such as hedgehogs, stoats and ferrets present danger, your own pets might pose the biggest threat. Keep your lizards nice and safe put netting over your lounge creation. You might want to try the track your cat or become a pest detective actions – these will help monitor predators (plus give you the chance to gain two new medals!)
  • While it’s tempting to stroke, or pat your new scaly friends it’s important to give lizards their personal space and observe from a distance.
  • Lizards love lapping up the sun, however the chillier months are tough for cold blooded creatures. Without sapping sunlight lizards move slower, making them more vulnerable to prey. Provide plenty of safe retreats to ensure your guests stay happy over the winter.
  • Keep your lizards hydrated by placing water bowls in their lounge.
  • Lizards are very loyal, and once they’ve found their favourite spot it’s likely they’ll be with you for many years to come!

Kiwi Guardians Habitat Creator - Lizard Lounge medal.
Kiwi Guardians Habitat Creator - Lizard Lounge medal

Claim your Kiwi guardians medal

Tell us if there are any lizards in your backyard and about the lizard lounge you’ve built, and we’ll send you a Kiwi Guardians Habitat Creator – Lizard Lounge medal.

  • What did your lounge look like?
  • How did you build it?
  • Has anything moved in yet?
  • Have you experimented with different materials?
  • Did certain materials attract different species?

Get your Kiwi Guardian medal

Each Kiwi Guardians action has a different medal - see how many you can collect.

If you share something online use #KiwiGuardians so we can see what you’ve done and share it with others!

Lizards are protected

All native lizard species are protected by the Wildlife Act and may not be captured, collected or deliberately disturbed without a permit issued by DOC. Generally lizards may only be kept in captivity or collected for scientific, educational or advocacy purposes. Getting to know the habits of these secretive critters in your own lizard-friendly backyard is a far more rewarding alternative!

Conservation Week 2017

For Conservation Week 2017, DOC is running a photo competition. To enter, complete any Toyota Kiwi Guardians action medal and post the photo of you completing the action to the DOC Facebook page.

Include a comment about how your photo shows you (and your whānau) showing your backyard some love. 

This competition runs from 7 October until 22 October and the winner will be notified by email. For terms and conditions click the banner below. Get active Kiwi Guardians!

Conservation Week 2017.

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