Conservation & Rescue Tips

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Make your backyard a reptile haven

Reptile habitat is being eroded at a frightening rate, and only a few urban survivors can now be seen where there used to be a pristine ecosystem. Along with lobbying your local politicians to preserve more land from developers for unspoiled habitat, you can make your backyard a haven for the reptiles that still live there.

Keep your bushes low and shaggy, and your grass a little tall. Put in a small pond, and leave some rocks, decorative pieces of pottery or an untouched woodpile to give shelter and comfort to wandering reptiles. You may save many small lives if you are willing to share your abode with snakes.

In particular, read the link "Their Perilous Migration", located at:


Stop! Save That Snake!

When you see a snake or other reptile on the road, you have a good chance of saving its life. Don't put yourself or your vehicle in danger. Pull off to the side of the road and check whether or not it is safe for you to enter the road before proceeding.

Frightened wild snakes can bite, so it's smart to use a stick to move them off the road instead of your hands. A turtle or tortoise can be picked up by the rear sides of its shell and moved safely, even if it snaps. Lizards can generally be urged off with a stick, or your foot.

If you find an injured animal on the road, call your local Fish and Game office to find a qualified rehabilitator near you.

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Heidi Splete