WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We are planning to carry out a mini-survey for reptiles around sewage
works and riverbank. For the survey, we will be putting out ‘mats’ (small
squares of roofing felt) in sunny locations close to dense vegetation
where reptiles might be sheltering. Where reptiles are present they will
be drawn to these mats to bask upon or shelter under. Spring is an
ideal time to look for reptiles – they will have emerged from
hibernation but the days are not yet too warm so they are less active
and easier to see.
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
There are four commonly found species of reptile in Britain: slow
worm, grass snake, common lizard and adder. They are generally
found in sunny places with a range of vegetation structures that offer
places to shelter, open areas to bask and insect-rich habitats to feed.
The only UK reptile that is venomous is the adder, but we are unlikely
to find this species as it tends to favour more open heathy habitats.
But the other three species could all potentially occur and are
harmless. Grass snakes are more closely associated with water, where
they will feed on fish and frogs, so by placing mats near the river
bank we are hoping to spot a few of these beauties.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
You are welcome to check under the mats as you pass by, but
please don’t move them and let us know if you find anything
exciting! Use this survey to report your findings. A reptile ID
sheet can be found here.
All reptiles in Britain receive protection under the Wildlife and
Countryside Act 1981 meaning that it is an offence to kill, injure
or sell them. Like much of the UK’s wildlife, they are threatened
by habitat loss and fragmentation.