For people looking to make their property more inviting to reptiles and amphibians, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has on its website a new publication that provides tips on creating a suitable habitat for frogs, toads, lizards and snakes.
“Reptiles and Amphibians in Your Backyard,” is a color, 8-page publication that was produced by biologists from N.C. State University, the Wildlife Commission, N.C. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.
“Many of the practices explained in the book to attract reptiles and amphibians are easy and fairly quick to do, even for folks who aren’t gardeners,” said Jeff Hall, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biologist with the Commission. “It’s mainly a matter of taking these critters into consideration when managing your lawn and garden. Things such as adding a water garden, planting native vegetation, providing shelter such as rock piles and log and brush piles, and limiting the use of pesticides and chemicals are simple yet effective techniques to create a backyard habitat that will attract a wide variety of wildlife.”
Even better for wildlife enthusiasts, these same practices and techniques will also attract birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife to a backyard. Along with habitat tips, the book provides information on the life history of reptiles and amphibians as well as the ecological importance of “herps,” as reptiles and amphibians are collectively called.
“Some herps are predators that keep the numbers of their prey in check, such as toads that will eat thousands of insects in their lifetime,” Hall said. “Others are found on the opposite end of the food chain, like frogs, which make tasty meals for many fishes, birds, mammals and reptiles.”
According to Hall, herps also can be good indicators of healthy natural environments.
“A habitat rich with reptiles and amphibians usually indicates that area supports a variety of other wildlife,” Hall said. “Whereas the absence of herps in an area where we would expect to find them can mean that the habitat is unsuitable for other types of wildlife as well.”
More than 160 species of reptiles and amphibians are found in North Carolina, and many of them are common to urban and suburban areas. However, some species have experienced declining populations over the last decade due to a variety of factors stemming from the state’s rapid growth.
“North Carolina’s human population is growing by leaps and bounds, particularly in urban and suburban areas and with this growth comes habitat loss and fragmentation, increased traffic and roadways, and sedimentation and pollution, all of which wreak havoc on reptile and amphibian populations,” Hall said. “People can do a lot to help conserve these populations in their own backyards by thinking about wildlife when managing their lawn and gardens.”
Work on the conservation of reptiles and amphibians is funded by the Commission’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, which supports wildlife research, conservation and management for animals that are not hunted and fished. North Carolinians can support this effort by:
* Donating through the Tax Check-off for Nongame and Endangered Wildlife on their N.C. State Income tax form.
* Registering a vehicle or trailer with a N.C. Wildlife Conservation license plate.
* Mailing in a contribution form, which can be downloaded at ncwildlife.org/give.
For more information on reptiles and amphibian conservation in North Carolina, visit the Commission’s website at ncwildlife.org/conserving, or the N.C. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’s website atwww.ncparc.org, or contact Hall at 252-917-1683; email@example.com.
About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission:
Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state's fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit ncwildlife.org.
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