How to build a hibernaculum for amphibians and reptiles
Hibernacula are underground chambers that amphibians and reptiles use throughout the winter to protect themselves from the cold.
Amphibians and reptiles like frogs, toads, newts, lizards and snakes are regular visitors to gardens, especially those with log piles, sunny spots, ponds, bogs and compost heaps. Creating a hibernaculum in your own garden will provide a safe space for amphibians and reptiles to hibernate over winter, as well as a spot for solitary bees to soak up the sun and for birds to relax.
You will need:
- A spade
- Logs and branches
- Rocks and bricks
- 2-3 drainpipe cut-offs or cement pipes (if using plastic drainpipes, roughen the insides with sandpaper, so that they are not too slippery for animals to climb
- Turf or meadow flower seeds (optional)
How to make your hibernaculum:
- In a sunny spot, dig a hole about 50cm deep and 1.5 metres across.
- Fill with logs, branches, bricks and rocks, leaving plenty of gaps in between.
- Insert entrance tubes (drainpipes) at ground level into the hole.
- Cover the pile with soil (to about 50cm high).
- Plant meadow seeds or long grasses over the mound to create a feast for summer pollinators.