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Shelter - amphibian style - a hibernaculum is built.


If you didnt read my last blog this one will make less than no sense…., otherwise welcome back :)

It was cold last night so I buried into several duvets and then felt guilty that I had blogged about a hibernaculum but never even made one. Whilst I was enjoying the warmth of a hot water bottle, my poor little newts had no where to go.

So this morning I felt determined to pop down to my neighbours who are having an extension built and relieve them of some of their rubble – all in the good cause of building my newts a 4 star hotel.

But that was before I walked round my own garden and found any number of shattered terracotta pots, bits of brick, and odd rope edged tiles that whilst I know I will never use I didn’t have the nerve to consign to the dump.

It was oddly therapeutic smashing up the pots still further (one bounced on the concrete and hit my foot, but let’s not dwell!)

I piled them up in a long row – which was rather like a 3d jigsaw and great fun – plenty of corridors and living quarters for beasties. I was aiming for about 6ft as in the diagram but a shrub got in the way so I managed about 4’6". I then covered it all in soil which I excavated from my vegetable patch last autumn. The soil is riddled with golden rod which was a flipping nuisance in a central bed, but if any rods do pop up I think they will be less of a problem tucked out of the way here.

I then added large chunks of clay with some stalwart plants in them: heucheras, geraniums, crocuses, etc. All plants that can stand any amount of neglect.

Le voila!

All in all I’m rather pleased with it. The drainage might be rather sharp in the summer but I can always faff around with it then.

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Well done . . . hope the newts appreciate it!

6 Mar, 2011


That looks interesting. I also have newts in my garden but they seem to live in the bricked hole...that has a lid on it where the mains water tap is.

6 Mar, 2011


Injured foot, but for a very good cause ...
Well done on your amazing construction ... you think other creatures will also take up residence ?

6 Mar, 2011


Dont worry Tt, my foot is fine. I have high expectations that some frogs will find their way in, and possibly toads. The newts I know less about. We know that there are common newts in the garden so I'm hopeful. The Great Crested Newt is the big prize of course but we have a fast flowing stream at the bottom of the garden so I don't know how likely we are to have some wander across. Then there are the slow-worms which we definitely have - though they are only just coming out of hibernation. I dont know where they live in the winter: they reside under a step in the summer and are easy to attract by putting down a compost lid in the sun. I think grass-snakes and proper lizards are also a possibility, but I havent seen an adder in years, so I dont know about them. Overwintering slugs, snails strike me as likely - die die die. We also had a shrew turn up dead on the doorstep on Tuesday. I have no idea how it got there or where it lives, but they are insectivores so perhaps they'll follow the slugs?

6 Mar, 2011


Wow... you'll have an amazing wildlife haven ...

and the frogs will eat the slugs and snails :o) Lol...

6 Mar, 2011


A lovely Newt house!! What a good idea. I guess the newts who live in my garden live in the piles of limestone I have near the pond. I cleaned said pond out a month ago, don't think the newts liked it clean! I hope they are in the stones nearby!!

6 Mar, 2011


Dont know what to do about cleaning out ponds - dragon fly larvae live at the bottom for years before emerging. On the other hand there is vile smelly gunk at the bottom of mine which cannot be good! It seems to have loads of things that look like woodlice at the bottom - no idea what they are.

6 Mar, 2011


I kept all the scary looking dragonfly larvae!!!! It's just the newts that have gone away! The larvae should turn into dragonflies next year.....!!

6 Mar, 2011


I love smashing pots too but only old ones that I use for drainage! I`m glad you didn`t do your foot any damage either.

7 Mar, 2011

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