Green Anole: Patricia Pierce

Wildlife needs places to find shelter from extremes of weather from heavy rain and snow to searing summer heat. Many species need places to hide from predators, and predators themselves need cover in order to successfully catch prey.

Wildlife need places to hide to feel safe from people, predators, and inclement weather. Native vegetation is a perfect cover for terrestrial wildlife. Shrubs, thickets, and brush piles provide great hiding places within their bushy leaves and thorns.

Even dead trees work, as they are home to lots of different animals, including some that use tree cavities and branches for nesting and perching.

If natural options aren't available for you, consider constructing a birdhouse specifically for the types of birds you would like to attract to your habitat.

Providing these places of cover not only helps wildlife, it can also help your overall garden if you "branch out" to attract other helpful pollinators, such as bats or bees.

Ponds provide cover for aquatic wildlife, such as fish and amphibians. A "toad abode" can be constructed to provide shelter for amphibians on land.

What kind of cover should I provide?

Wildlife need at least two places to find shelter from the weather and predators:

  • Wooded Area
  • Bramble Patch
  • Ground Cover
  • Rock Pile or Wall
  • Cave
  • Roosting Box

Preparing your garden? View the checklist to ensure you have all the elements for wildlife. 

Find your element—purchase cover elements from the National Wildlife Federation catalog.

Does your garden have all the elements to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat®? Certify today! 



Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More