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Friday, 31 August, 2001, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Lizards and frogs enter Eden
Anola lizard
Lizards are helping to complete Eden's eco-system
Lizards and tree frogs have been released into the giant domes of the UK's Eden Project to protect its rare plants from pests and diseases.

Their arrival at the Cornwall centre is the last part of the creation of a complete eco-system in the vast greenhouses.

It means staff can avoid using harmful chemicals to control insects.

Experts had to identify creatures that would attack pests without damaging plants.

Inside bio-dome BBC
Eden's experts want to avoid chemical pest control
Tropical birds have already been released into the domes to eat airborne insects.

Plant experts toured the world's botanical gardens to find plants for the reclaimed clay pit near St Austell, which has been visited by a million people since opening in April.

But plant-feeding insects and diseases have also found their way into the unique plastic geo-domes.

The green and brown anola lizards, which live for four years, have been bred by Newquay Zoo.

The zoo's Wendy Winstanley said: "It has been a very interesting project to find something that will acclimatise well and live and breed.

Frog BBC
Tree frogs will live in Eden's forest canopy
"They will eat any small insect and actually they can eat quite a big one, up to the size of a hoverfly.

"Tree frogs like the wetter area, which has different kinds of pests.

"They are quite small at the moment, but they can get quite large."

The creation of a complete eco-system will enhance the Eden Project's ability to undertake research.

Staff hope new generations of lizards and frogs will appear within months - if the creatures are not too stressed to breed.

Eden bird
Birds already capture airborne insects
Squeamish visitors need not be put off by the presence of exotic amphibians.

The tree frogs will live in the forest canopy, far from view, and the lizards are reclusive.

Robin Lock, of the Eden Project, said: "They will have to pop out every now and then and we have got birds in here too so we see those from time to time.

"And of course the noise is lovely."

The BBC's Jane O'Brien
"The tree frogs and lizards have been kept in quarantine"
See also:

26 Jul 01 | UK
Animals to enter Eden
15 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
UK's hi-tech 'Garden of Eden'
03 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
UK's 'Garden of Eden' takes root
30 Sep 99 | Sci/Tech
Frogs kiss and tell
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