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Rock Wall Habitats

Have you stopped and observed the wildlife around a rock pile or a rock wall lately? What about the plants growing through the cracks? Flora and fauna are just a couple of benefits of a rock wall. The primary reason is for most rock walls is support of the surrounding ground and to stop erosion. Rock walls have been built for centuries for boundaries and keeping livestock in, as fences. But there are benefits that go beyond these reasons!

 

 

Building a rock wall or rock pile in your yard can be a fun family project to create a unique habitat for a variety of wildlife. Cold-blooded reptiles such as ring-necked snakes like rocks because they maintain heat and cold longer than the soil around it. Sun heated rocks will stay warm throughout the night. The area directly around the rocks tends to stay moist which is preferred by many of amphibian friends, such as toads and salamanders. Warm-blooded animals such as chipmunks, and even rabbits, will burrow next to rock walls.

 

If you’ve never built a rock wall or rock pile before, here are some simple steps to remember along with using your imagination:

  • Use a variety of sizes of rocks to allow for different shapes and sizes of crevices that animals can access
  • Dig a hole in the bottom layer before placing larger rocks over the hole. This allows for extra space for animals 
  • Add your favorite rock, garden pot or pebbles on top 
  • Keep your wall low for safety reasons
  • Use rocks found in your yard, or those that can be purchased at a nursery or garden center.  Please remember to leave the rocks in parks there for to benefit the habitats of the animals who call the park home.

Not sure you have the resources to build a rock wall or rock pile? Start small with an upside-down flowerpot surrounded by pebbles.

Visit one of the following parks to observe the rock walls for wildlife. What did you find?

Chrisholm Historic Farmstead at Chrisholm MetroPark

Woodsdale Regional Park at Chrisholm MetroPark

Reigart Road Area of Rentschler Forest MetroPark