The following is a list of simple, yet effective things that people can do to help lizards and contribute to their conservation and protection!
- Every year legions of lizards are killed on roads when they are run over. If you encounter a lizard on the road (and it is safe to do so) stop and scoot it across in the direction it’s headed. Usually, merely walking over to the lizard will encourage it to run across.
- Do not build rock sculptures, rock piles, or inukshuks. Naturally occurring rock-piles, flat rocks, and large stones act as extremely important habitats for many types of lizards. Removing these or displacing them to make rock sculptures or inukshuks can seriously harm the lizards.
- Similarly, do not remove (or move around or displace) fallen logs, stumps, drift wood, rocks, bark shards, leaf litter or other similar items from forest floors. These materials act as important shelters and hiding spots for certain lizards.
- Do not use and encourage others not to use rat-poisons, chemical pesticides, insecticides, and other similar chemicals around your home or cottage. These can be deadly to lizards. Lizards and other reptiles have been reported to be more sensitive to the effects of persistent insecticides than are birds and mammals. This apparent sensitivity may result from their low metabolic rate and resultant inability to quickly detoxify contaminants. Reports of reptilian mortality following pesticide applications are numerous enough to establish the sensitivity of reptiles to these chemicals (Hall, 1980).
- Make sure to properly dispose of hazardous waste materials as to not contribute to the contamination of lizard habitats. This includes house hold chemicals for cleaning, motor oils, all pharmaceutical medicines, and camping sewage. Whenever possible try to eliminate the usage of such items to further benefit lizards.
- Lizards are often captured and killed for food markets. Do not support these! Even if individuals try to justify that they didn’t kill the animal, they are supporting the demand and more lizards will have to be killed. If people encounter stores that are selling these lizards products they can further help by writing in and letting these businesses know that they will not support any stores that attempt to profit from such cruelty.
- Do not catch lizards from the wild to keep them as pets. Not only is this illegal in many places, but taking lizards from the wild can seriously harm the natural populations. If you really love these animals you will leave them in the wild where they belong.
- Cats can be devastating predators to lizards. Make sure outdoor cats wear bells, to prevent them from sneaking up and killing lizards (and other forms of wildlife).
- Lizards sometimes fall into places that are difficult to get out of, becoming trapped. This happens most commonly with window wells. If there are any potential pitfalls around your house, please consider adding a cover or screen to serve as a ladder.
- Do not use sticky traps or tape traps around the home. Lizards often become trapped and killed in such materials.
- When camping do not collect fallen logs, stumps, or wood from forests, wetlands, or other areas for fire. These materials act as important shelters and hiding spots for woodland lizards. Compressed paper bricks are a better alternative for fireplaces and campfires. These are made from recycled paper material and sawdust that would otherwise go to waste. Organic Briquettes, which are made from recycled corn cobs, groundnuts and rice husks can also be used for fires. Yet another alternative is to use solar cookers while camping.
- When out in natural areas that lizards frequent, be respectful. Keep an eye out for lizards on paths when biking or hiking to ensure that none are stepped on. When using All-terrain vehicles stay on designated paths to avoid running over and killing lizards that are hiding under natural debris. When visiting natural areas make sure to stay on designated paths. Walking over leaf-litter, brush, rocks, and logs, can crush and kill lizards that are hiding under these natural forms of shelter.
- You can help preserve lizard habitat by donating money to the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
- Keep others informed! Let others know about the threats that lizards are facing and what we can do to help! Share this website on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter! Write in to your local newspapers and elected officials to voice your concerns for lizards! Let them know about the threats that lizards are facing and what we can do to help!
HABITAT MANAGEMENT & STEWARDSHIP ACTIVITIES:
Habitat loss is one of the most significant threats that lizards face. This makes the practices of landowners a powerful conservation tool. The following is a list of stewardship activities that will help enrich land and create suitable habitats for lizards. The habitat management activities that help lizards will also benefit turtles, salamanders, fish, and a myriad of other species!
- Landowners are encouraged to leave as much of their property as natural and as undisturbed as possible. Let areas grow thick with grass and natural vegetation.
- Do not remove or destroy natural rock outcrops, rock piles, rock walls, or fallen woody debris from the property. All of these features are extremely important to lizards.
- Do not destroy or level slopes, rock ledges, or banks, such sunny areas are important basking sites for lizards.
- Leaving the woodlands around rock outcrops and rocky glades is extremely important.
- Do not fill in burrows or holes in the yard, as these maybe important habitat for burrowing lizard species.
- Do not strip away or cut down trees, stumps, vegetation and other natural features. Do not drain wetlands or bodies of water or pools (potholes) whether seasonal or permanent.
- Do not use plastic erosion control netting or mesh, these materials sometimes ensnare lizards (and many other types of animals). Compost, can be used as an alternative. Surface application of compost can effectively reduce sediment loss and result in vigorous growth of vegetation (Storey et al. 1996, EPA 2009, Tyler et al. 2009),
- Do not remove fallen logs or dead standing trees or snags from the property, these can serve as egg-laying sites for lizards.
- Glades are naturally occurring open areas found within forests, they may often be rocky. Leave these areas open and sunny. They act as important basking sites for lizards. The rocks may also provide cover and shelter.
- If naturally occurring sunny areas in glades or sunny rock outcrops or ledges are being encouraged upon by shade (especially from non-native plants), trim or remove such vegetation to keep these areas open, warm, and sunny.
- Do not release any non-native plants or animals of any kind. Non-native species can have devastating affects on the natural ecosystems. Furthermore if exotics are present (either plant or animal) eliminate their presence.
- It is important to leave natural areas in-between forests edges, meadows, rocky areas, ravines, and other green spaces where ever possible. This will provide natural corridors in which the lizards can travel in between habitats. If various habitats do exist, but have already been fragmented or cut off from each other, efforts should be made to increase natural (and native) forms of vegetation and cover to form corridors. Do not fragment areas of woods or meadows into smaller cut-off sections by clear-cutting, or stripping away thick areas of vegetation. Leave areas like grasslands and meadows lush.
- Reduce food waste and control its storage. Garbage, composts, pet food, and bird seed may attract raccoons, skunks, and other predators that may prey on lizards. Store garbage, composts, recycling, and other food sources indoors or in containers that cannot be opened by animals. Avoid feeding pets outside. Place bird feeders so they are inaccessible to raccoons and skunks and keep areas underneath bird feeders clean. Never feed raccoons or skunks. These are devastating lizard predators. You can further help to minimize the populations of these predators by reducing their food supply. Inform the city about dumpsters that are not kept closed.
- Livestock should be restricted from the most natural areas of the property, especially near rockwalls, rocky areas, and wetlands. Here they can degrade water quality, and can reduce vegetation (i.e cover for the lizards), which can lead to increased predation of the lizards.
- If man-made pools are present on the property be sure to use Froglogs. These are items that will help trapped lizards escape pools.
- Do not allow mining or quarrying on the property, as these can remove or damage important rocky habitats for lizards.
- When building houses, sheds, and other structures, design them to be smaller. Build up instead of out. This will reduce the amount of habitat that is affected by such unnatural features.