Environment Australia, 2002
Like most reptiles, Larry Lizard enjoys lying in the sun. This warms his body, which in turn allows him to move about in search of food and shelter. In the picture, Larry is warming himself on a beach chair while enjoying a cool, refreshing drink. But do lizards really do this?
In reality, lizards are found in a variety of bush habitats, and can often be seen basking among rocks and logs. Hollow logs also provide shelter for lizards and hide many insects - such as ants, beetles and spiders - that lizards like to feed on. Sadly, not enough people know that logs provide food and shelter for wildlife, meaning that many plants and animals are disappearing when wood is collected for firewood. Imagine what the landscape would look like without logs and trees. What would happen to Larry without any logs?
- Build a lizard lounge using logs, rocks and small plants.
- Look for thin pieces of wood, instead of fat logs.
- Leave hollow logs alone.
- If you take wood, plant a tree to replace it.
Lizards' homes are disappearing as we concrete and pave our surroundings. Why not help these little creatures by building lizard homes in your school grounds so that small skinks and even larger lizards have somewhere to live.
Before you build your Lizard Lounge, you will need to find out what it is like to be a lizard - here are some clues to help:
- Small skinks eat tiny insects.
- Lizards like a wide selection of hiding places and are often found under logs and rocks.
- They enjoy finding safe sunny spots to lounge in. In a group, find out more about what lizards need to be comfortable. Have a look in books, nature magazines, and the Internet - you could even write a story, cartoon or song about lizard life.
The next step is to design and build a 3D model of a 'Lizard Lounge Display Home'. This will show exactly what can be created in your garden or school playground. Make sure you create features that a lizard would appreciate in your design. You can use materials such as modelling clay, paper mache, cardboard and natural materials such as grass and sticks. A baseboard may be useful.
Finally, build a real version of your design in the school grounds to create a lizard-friendly school garden. For creating the real lizard lounge, you will need:
- gardening tools;
- rocks, or materials to make artificial rocks - cement, sand, stone and concrete colouring;
- native Australian plants; and
- mulch (woodchips, leaves, compost). You and your classmates might have to vote on the best design if there is room for only one design around your school!
The Gould League has a web site that gives additional information about creating a real-life lizard lounge, including photographic examples. This information can be found on Gould League web site where you should click on the Wildscapes logo and go to 'projects and tours '. Other wildlife habitat creation projects and resources can be found on this web site.
The Gould League is dedicated to helping people understand, appreciate and protect the environment through education. The Gould League is pioneering action-based web site and resources.