Building Homes for Reptiles and Amphibians

An innovative habitat development program is underway at our native plant garden. This program provides hidden-in-plain-sight niche habitats for local riparian wildlife on our native plant garden grounds, specifically small mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Optimum habitat is provided in the native plant garden outside of the main line of site from visitors and staff to encourage riparian wildlife to expand their range to specific non-visible parts of our native plant gardens.

Stop by our gardens and take a minute to look down at your feet, and see if you can locate these hidden wildlife homes located throughout our property.

Habitat restoration and development is being done quite extensively throughout the USA as seen in California, with wetland restorations such as the Yolo Bypass area near Sacramento, and the riparian habitat restorations by Turtle Island’s Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) on the Lagunitas watershed. However this program is unique because it specifically encourages reptiles and amphibians such as:

Rubber Boa Charina bottae
California Mountain Kingsnake Lampropeltis zonata
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus oreganus

Western Skink  Eumeces skiltonianus
Western Fence Lizard  Sceloporus occidentalis
Northern Alligator Lizard  Elgaria coerulea (Gerrhonotus coeruleus)

Arboreal Salamander  Aneides lugubris
California Slender Salamander  Batrachoseps attenuatus
Rough-skinned Newt  Taricha granulosa (extremely poisonous)
Pacific Tree Frog  Pseudacris regilla

Reptiles and amphibians are small species and require shelter, so habitat development is done by gathering firewood logs found throughout the property and making non stacked wood piles. Then branches are placed on top and around the woodpile. Then leaf litter or dead grass is added to encourage the ecosystem’s microorganisms and insects to colonize the piles. Finally, water is added to start the biological processes that allow the microorganisms and insects to thrive. These microorganisms and insects attract and provide forage for larger amphibians and reptiles.


Moist to dry locations that receive a lot of sunshine throughout the day are considered reptile habitat developments. Moist locations that receive less to no direct light are considered amphibian habitat developments. (See photos of habitat developments and of some of the critters that we hope will soon take up residence in these new home).
I have high expectations for these habitat developments and have already seen many species of reptiles and amphibian on the grounds, such as a Sharp-Tailed Snake (Contia tenuis), Western Fence Lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) and California Slender Salamanders (Batrachoseps attenuates). All of these species have been found in the native plant garden.

I will be documenting the progress of these habitat developments with a timeline, photos of habitat progression and documentation of which species are attracted to these new homes. Watch for posts here on our blog, in our eNewsletters and on Facebook. We are looking forward to what we discover and to sharing those results with you! If you have any questions feel free to email me at