We have been busy in the Parkland creating homes for wildlife!
You may have noticed some activity as the Parkland team was busy creating two hibernacula for our amphibious and reptile friends.
What’s an Hibernaculum?
An hibernaculum is simply a refuge or shelter.
These can be made from a variety of natural materials – tree roots, leaf litter, compost heaps, log piles and rock piles are great refuges and over-wintering sites for reptiles and amphibians – providing habitat, cover, locations to bask in the sunshine, and a food store.
A tidy log pile surrounded by good cover will gradually become over grown and will mature into a good refuge.
We sited our hibernacula near to the wildlife pond that is within the Castle Bromwich formal gardens making it an ideal home for the frogs, newts, grass snakes and other animals that could be living here.
How did we make them?
- Firstly we cleared a small area of brambles and nettles and dug a shallow trench, saving the turf and soil for later.
- Then we placed pipes, rocks, broken pots and woody roots and sticks into the trench. These create lots of holes, crevices and ways in for the wildlife to enter the base of the refuge.
- Once we were happy with this layer we started placing logs on top, varying the direction of them and so creating lots of spaces for creatures to hide and sleep in.
- Time for a layer of soil! This helps stabilise the log pile.
- We kept stacking the logs and sticks until we had reached a good height, then we topped it all with the saved soil and turf we had from digging the trench.
- It looks a little messy bit soon grass and wild flowers will grow on top and the bramble will creep a little closer and add some extra protection.
Its not just for frogs, newts and reptiles though. It will become home solitary bees as well as whole range of insects like beetles, woodlice, earwigs and centipedes!
We used the leftover logs, that were a bit too big, to create a ‘dead hedge’. This will be used by passing birds, wood mice, voles and other wildlife to hide from their predators and shelter from bad weather.
Did you know?
Other animals that use hibernaculum’s are hedgehogs!
These prickly mammals hibernate during the cold winter months in nests made from grass, leaves and usually make them under hedgerows or in bramble thickets. They are also known to nest under sheds, decking and in compost heaps in peoples gardens.