How many animals?

This differs of course per species and it also depends on the size of the garden. I am most experienced in green lizards, Italian wall lizards (P. Sicula) and since a few years in ocellated lizards (Timon Lepidus). Since a year seven Hermann’s tortoises (Testudo Hermanni) have roamed a part of the garden too. Especially for lizards not just the size of the garden, but also the lay out and position to the sun is important. Green lizards in the wild have an average home range that is set at 77 to 125 meters. The total of the used area can be ten to twenty times as big! This was the result of telemetric research of green lizards in the Rhine Valley in Germany (Radiotelemetrische Untersuchungen zu Raumbedarf und Habitat Nutzung der Lacerta bilineata. P. Sound, Dr. M. Veith, Institute für Zoologie, Universtät Mainz, Saarstraße 21, Marz 2000). From this research it also appears that the animals mostly prefer low vegetation (they less prefer high vegetation, open spaces or rocks).

I haven’t noticed that different kinds of species often harass each other. The combination of reptiles with amphibians also imposes little problems in my garden. It leaves lots of room for experimenting. (I have no experience with terrapins.)

At this moment I have six green lizards, seven Hermann’s tortoises, one couple of Oriental fire-bellied toads, a few green toads and an unknown number of Italian newts living in my garden. A pond in the garden has of course several advantages. Besides room for living for amphibians a well overgrown pond and banks attract lots of extra insects, such as hoverflies, dragonflies and their larvae. It has never happened that a lizard drowned in my pond, although sometimes an animal falls into the water after a speedy chase through the garden. You do have to watch out for your tortoises near a pond; they can actually drown! Make sure they can’t reach the pond or provide for easily accessible banks on all sides of the pond, in order to let animals that have fallen in to climb back on the bank.