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Better Wetlands - Loafing Logs and Hibernation Habitat

Better Wetlands

Photo of a painted and a red-eared turtle on a log

If you want to see more turtles, including the painted and red-eared turtles (above) enjoy themselves in a wetland, consider dragging a log into the southern shore for them to bask

Loafing Logs and Hibernation Habitat

Wetlands are prime habitat for turtles, salamanders, frogs and snakes. You can design or improve a restored wetland for these and other amphibians and reptiles.

Drag an 18 inch diameter log into the north side of the wetland pool, leaving one end of the log submerged and the other end on land. On the north side, shoreline vegetation won’t shade the log, and turtles, amphibians and birds will have a place to bask in the sun.

Another idea is to plant a few trees along the north edge of the water. If they die and fall into the water, they serve as amphibian and reptile habitat, and loafing areas for ducks and geese. Living trees are essential habitat for tree frogs.

Bull and leopard frogs hibernate in water. It’s important to them to have part of the water area four feet deep to prevent winter freeze kills.

An excellent idea for many hibernating reptiles is to dig a five foot deep hole on a south facing slope near the wetland and fill it with rocks, brush, or similar material. The crevices created by this rock pile below the frost line gives winter hibernation habitat to harmless rodent and insect eating snakes like the bull, fox, king, rat and garter snake.

Improving habitat for amphibians and reptiles will help control rodents and insects such as mosquitoes in the wetland. Salamanders and frogs eat insects- one cricket frog, only an inch long, can eat more than 5,000 insects a season. Some snakes also eat insects; others eat rats and mice.

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