Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

What’s under that tile? – reptile and frog monitoring at Campbells Creek

Posted on 14 December, 2017 by Frances

You may think ceramic roof tiles belong on roofs, but we have another use for them. Ceramic roof tiles also make great shelters for reptiles and frogs.

On Friday 8 December 2017,  we gathered at the Campbells Creek walking track to admire the beautiful creekline restoration work achieved by Friends of Campbells Creek. The aim of the workshop was to check the tiles previously set out as part of Connecting Country’s citizen science monitoring program for reptiles and frogs. This program involves arrays of ceramic tiles set out on both private and public land across the shire. For some more information on our  reptile and frog monitoring program click here. 

Peter Johnson (PJ) from Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) demonstrated how to safely check monitoring tiles, and helped us identify the creatures we found. At the first monitoring site we found several native garden skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) sheltering under the tiles, along with numerous scorpions, centipedes, beetles, slugs and ants. Unfortunately we discovered the second monitoring site had been ‘tidied up’, with the tiles piled into a neat stack! Asha and the rest of the team reset the tiles and took this as a valuable lesson in the challenges of doing scientific research.

It was a perfect day for reptile and frog monitoring – not too hot or too cold. Although we didn’t find frogs or larger reptiles, Peter suggested that it takes time for the tiles to become suitable habitat for these animals. Experience suggests the tiles are first colonised by invertebrates, then increasing numbers of reptiles and frogs move in over several years. So we can expect tile monitoring to get more exciting as monitoring continues!

Over some morning tea, Peter shared more of his knowledge and experience about reptile and frog identification and conservation. We thank Peter and DELWP for their support in running this event.

If you would like some ceramic tiles and instructions on how to set up reptile and frog monitoring on your property, please contact Asha Bannon at Connecting Country.

The following images were captured on the day by our director, Frances Howe.

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