Gopher snakes, king snakes and such help with rodent control. If you have any spare snakes, please send my way.
Otherwise, the smaller garter snakes and lizards are generally beneficial. I have a small hoard of southern alligator lizards on patrol throughout the garden. I see them setting up shop along ant trails and otherwise eating bugs. Some of them have gotten quite used to me and let me touch them.
Lizards like piles of stones here and there throughout the garden, especially sunny spots.
I have built reptile motels from rock on the southern edge of the garden. Alligator lizards and garter snakes share the warm dry conditions. Both are insectavores. No poisonous snakes here.
It's on the edge of a ridge, so very well drained. They dig burrows under the rocks and I assume that this is where they spend the winters. I set some flat rocks into the pile to act as shingles, so that there is somewhere dry, during our rainy winters.
In NE Kansas USA I'm blessed with wide mouth salamander & skinks. A box turtle stolls by occasionally. This is the first summer I've seen the salamander - it seems to live in shady moist spots. I'm creating rock piles also.
Not a reptile, but a large, amazing golden spider (Black & yellow Argiope is the closest my field guide shows) has been collecting insects in web. If this not the correct ID for this spider, I'd appreciate knowing what it is called. Thanks.
Dale, do you see alligator lizards making a big decline there? See many of the wall lizards in your garden?
Lots of useful reptiles, but highly dependent on where you live. I have thought about keep a savannah monitor in my greenhouse for snails, but they would likely rip the screen. here we have all kinds of snakes and lizards that do very much good in eating up stuff we dont want. They also provide a lot of pleasure watching.
amphibians are also pretty useful too if they are around.
My 3 yr old urban homestead needs some garter snakes I think. I have 2/3 acre, privacy fence all around. The vegetable garden takes up one sunny corner of the yard (50 x 60), and a part-shade corner that is the fruit tree guilds, with main backyard at the house mostly shaded by 2 big pecan trees. I have a dog and cat and spend a lot of time out there working, and I hope to add chickens this year, then honeybees next year. There are no boggy spots or water features to attract them, and I wonder if the street runoff creek that runs through a 3-acre woodland preserve across the street, will compete for attention. It will be another 3 yrs or so before I have the entire property lush with plantings and hidey holes.
So for now, am I more likely to get tenants by creating a habitat in the sunniest south facing corner of the yard which is the farthest and driest corner at the top of the slope of the vegetable garden where I want them to dine, or 100 feet downhill where there is more landscaping vegetation and the future pond might be - where it gets morning and mid-day sun. If I put up a sign saying "eat grubs here for free" will they come - lol ?
We've never met a snake, lizard or turtle we didn't welcome to our garden! Same goes for amphibians -- for whom we have built several spawning ponds in and around the gardens. We even have a resident pygmy rattlesnake living around the bed where mint, oregano, sage and a few other herbs like to reseed themselves. (I don't know why it likes that spot, but that is where we almost always find it.) We do occasionally have to take a few copperheads a bit further out to keep them from biting the cat and a couple of our smaller dogs, but even they are never far from the garden. Wasps, assassin bugs, preying mantises, ladybugs and spiders also are welcome. We build stone piles for reptiles (with cool grottoes inside for hot days) and set cans and flower pots upside down on stakes in vegetable beds for spiders and predatory insects to shelter in. Nature's pest patrol saves us a ton of labour. Except for blister beetles, which NOTHING seems to eat, we never have major pest outbreaks.
I know of a handful of people who have had success with hibernaculums for snakes, either near feed storage sheds, or near compost piles. One system that really seemed to work with snakes and frogs, was cinder blocks, with the holes, under gravel paths through the garden.
Larger rocks buried in front of the holes, that are stacked with gaps big enough for snakes to get through. They manage to tunnel through most of everything else. There are many different types of hibernaculums, for different snakes, in different climates, for different animals.
The cinder blocks were just a hidey spot for snakes in the spring and summer.
Merced Greens wrote:Any relatively benign creatures as such?
During the last millennia down in Miami my roommate and I had feral 'pet' geckos. They came from the wild, the three of them. We put a small hole in the screen door to let them in and out of their own accord. They would roam the apartment looking for bugs. We used to have a quarterly spray service but when they came calling we canceled. They were keeping the place bug free. The only down side was having some gecko land on you at 2am spring you out of bed wondering what the!....
We have recently become infested with Mediterranean House Geckos and I'm convinced they are protecting us from Kissing Bugs and possibly even scorpions. There seem to be many fewer bugs in the house since the Geckos arrived.
Apparently these Geckos have such specialized needs that they virtually require human habitation and do not compete with the native reptiles in our area.