With winter approaching, our Amphibians and Grass Snakes will be getting ready for their winters sleep. In late summer and early autumn, our British Frogs, Newts, Toads and Grass Snakes will be eating plenty so as to gain enough weight to sustain them during their annual hibernation.
If you want to encourage Amphibians to your pond and back garden, you may consider providing them with some hiding places to hibernate under. Flat stones, planks of wood, log piles, and leaf piles all make excellent, damp hibernation refuge sites for winter dormancy, compost heaps are a top favourite for Grass Snakes.
Many people have a phobia about Snakes, however, our British Grass Snakes should be seen as a welcome visitor to your water garden. They can often be seen during the summer months, swimming gracefully through the water on the prowl for small Frogs and other tasty snacks.
Our common frogs hibernate on land or under water. In their natural environment, Frogs prefer to hibernate under mud and rotting vegetation at the bottom of a pond or, on land under rocks, logs, rotting vegetation and will even use previously owned small mammal burrows.
If you find Toads at this time of year you will notice they are very fat and round. Our Toads prefer to hibernate on land in the same places that our common Frogs do.
Our Common Newts tend to semi-hibernate and can be very active foraging for food in mild spells of winter weather. In cold snaps they will go into dormancy, seeking refuge under rocks and logs.
Great Crested Newts
Great Crested Newts prefer ponds that have deep water, so will often favour swimming pools to hibernate in. So, if you have any form of deep water in your back garden, you might be lucky enough to house a colony of these magnificent little fellows. As with our Frogs and Toads, they like to hibernate in frost-free hiding places such as under logs, rocks, rotting leaf vegetation and previously owned small animal burrows.
Grass Snakes prefer to hibernate in similar places to that of our Amphibians. Somewhere that is cool, but stays above freezing is ideal. Compost heaps and rotting vegetation makes an excellent safe haven for a long winters sleep.
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