Create a lizard friendly garden
IntroductionEntice skinks or geckos to your backyard with a cool new home.
New Zealand has 110 species of lizard and none of them are found anywhere else in the world.
With a few small changes, your garden could attract some of the geckos or skinks common to your area. Make a sunny spot in your backyard a lizard habitat by following the steps below.
Did you know?
- Lizards love to hide in small spaces
- Many of geckos make 'chirping' noises, or even 'bark'
- Skinks can blink, but geckos can't – they have to lick their eyes to keep them moist
What you will need:
- Some found materials like old concrete, stones, bricks, dead wood or corrugated metal (make sure you have permission to use them!)
- A native plant or two
- A quiet, dry area of your garden that gets decent sunlight
In the chosen area of your garden, plant your native flora.
When choosing plants, look for tussocks, grasses and plants with branches that tangle up to make for great hiding spots. Your local plant nursery should have a good range to choose from.
Already have a sunny spot in your backyard that has native plants? Great! Move on to the next step.
Lizards need safe shelter to thrive.
An example of a homemade lizard habitat using corrugated iron, stones and tussock grass
Stack your materials loosely, allowing for plenty of cracks and holes to build a cosy lizard home. Lizards like to squeeze their body into holes no more than 5-19mm wide. Hopefully some spiders, slaters or beetles will take up residence too, as they make tasty lizard treats.
Top tip: If you smear a bit of yogurt or milk onto your new shelter, you may have some lichen or moss grow in a few week's time!
Wait until you have a new tenant.
Keep your eyes peeled for a lizard basking in the sun, they're cold-blooded animals (also known as an ectotherm) and rely on environmental temperature to keep their body warm.
If you have other pets that might disturb the area, you can put some netting across it to keep it safe.
Sit back and relax!
Lizards don't like to be disturbed once they've made a home, so try not to move habitat around once it's up and running. It can also be tempting to give your scaly friend a pat when it moves in, but it's best to give them personal space and watch from a distance. Instead, you can take pictures, leave a small dish of water nearby or some berries to show you care.
By building a special habitat in your garden for lizards you give them shelter from their biggest threats: predation and habitat destruction. Thanks for making a difference!
Become a Kiwi Guardian!
Creating a habitat for lizards earns you a medal as part of our Toyota Kiwi Guardians activity programme.