Can protective attributes of artificial refuges offset predation risk in lizards?

  • Published source details Bourke G., Matthews A. & Michael D.R. (2017) Can protective attributes of artificial refuges offset predation risk in lizards?. Austral Ecology, 42, 497-507.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create artificial refuges, hibernacula and aestivation sites

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create artificial refuges, hibernacula and aestivation sites

    A randomized, controlled study (years not provided) of artificial refugia in Australia (Bourke et al. 2017) found that Boulenger’s skinks Morethia boulengeri preferred timber refuge material compared to cement tiles or corrugated iron, but that this preference was affected by the size of the gap between the refuge and the ground. Skinks selected timber refuges over corrugated iron refuges (timber: 21 skinks; iron: 6 skinks) and timber over cement tiles (timber: 19 skinks; cement: 9 skinks), but showed no preference for corrugated iron or cement tiles (iron: 14 skinks; cement: 14 skinks).  When the preferred timber refuges were raised from 1 cm to 2.5 cm above ground, all skinks (10 of 10) preferred corrugated iron with gaps of 2 cm, but preference for standard timber (2.5 cm gaps) and flattened iron (<=1 cm gaps) was equal (5 skinks selected each). Twenty-eight skinks collected from two different areas were presented with choices between two different refuge materials (either timber, corrugated iron or cement tile). Twenty of those skinks were then given the choice of a timber refuge or corrugated iron refuge raised to different heights above the ground (timber: height changed from 1 cm to 2.5 cm above ground; corrugated iron was flattened from 2 cm gaps to <=1 cm). Experiments were carried out in laboratory conditions.

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