SJPT naturalist and Ellis Preserve Curator Ruthie Dougherty shows how to add a “critter cozy,” or hibernaculum, to enhance wildlife habitat in your garden.

One simple way to nurture the diverse wildlife in your backyard is to create a hibernaculum.

Wait a sec—a what?

A hibernaculum is a shelter for overwintering larvae, emergent caterpillars and pollinators, lizards, salamanders, frogs, and snakes. These mini-habitats can also serve as cozy hideouts on hot summer days. You can make one with stones, logs, stumps, or brush piles. Your refuge can be as simple or fancy as you like, and it doesn’t have to be big to have a worthwhile impact.

Volunteers build a Hibernaculum from a downed tree!

Adding a hibernaculum to the habitat pile at Eureka Preserve

Michael Noonan and Connor Davidage

With the Little House in the Forest School