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The 2016 Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting PDF Print

HWM 2016 1 for web

The hugely popular Herpetofauna Workers Meeting was held in Oxford in 2016, with two days of fascinating talks and workshops, the latest news on herpetofauna conservation and plenty of networking opportunities. As ever, the parallel social programme also proved very popular, with many attending the ARGUK curry on Friday night, and the Saturday Gala Dinner with the perennial favourite HIGNFY, which this year featured herpy super heroes, and a new Olympic sport of 'toad tossing' (plastic ones I hasten to add!!).

For a more personal summary, I include a review from our colleagues at KRAG:

The 2016 Herpetofauna workers meeting included a range of talks from local volunteers, students and professionals. For me, some of the stand out presentations were those that illustrated community participation and talks that summarised the results of monitoring projects. Amy Wright's talk on Kent Toad Crossings being an excellent example of how a dedicated volunteer can motivate people to get involved in conservation. John Baker's account of adder monitoring in East Anglia demonstrated the importance of long-term data sets, inspiringHelena Turner Skink poster HWM 2016 for web a discussion in the bar that concluded with plans for a further autumn conference and a commitment to publish evidence that can be used to influence land managers involved in practical conservation.

The meeting also allowed students to present results of their ongoing research projects. Aidan Mackay's talk on Kent marsh frogs and Rob Ward's account of Jersey grass snakes were both delivered confidently with interesting findings. I also enjoyed learning about Layna's island skinks in Helena Turner's nicely presented poster. Posters are a great way of summarising projects and perhaps something to be expanded for future events.

Finally, the workshops provided a platform for statutory organisations to announce new publications and planned changes to the interpretation of conservation legislation.

2016 certainly looks like it will be an interesting year for species that currently enjoy European protection!

herpy super heroes 1 Toad tossing HWM 3 for webSurrey ARG croakers for HWM 2016 for webHSI workshop HWM 2016 for web

The 2016 Herpetofauna Workers meeting has been generously supported by:

Caledonian Conservationhabitat aid logo newSARG logonhbs-logo-grey-bird

BHS logo    CGO-ecology

Make the Adder Count in 2016 PDF Print

Female adder - copyright Will Watson for websiteWelcome to Make the Adder Count 2016. Started in 2005, this long-running survey aims to encourage springtime counts of adders, with the objectives of informing local conservation projects/interests and gathering a long-term surveillance dataset.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have returned their data from 2015 and are helping to build up the dataset.

Make the Adder Count encourages experienced observers to gather data in a standardised way (by making at least three and, ideally, five or six counts of adult snakes basking after emergence from hibernation) so that information may be pooled to build a picture of trends in adder populations nationally.

The project is being co-ordinated by ARGUK. To take part please contact Chris Monk at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

(Female adder - image copyright Will Watson, Male adder image copyright Paul Hudson - with thanks)


To Take Part in Make the Adder CountAdder 5 Paul Hudson for website

You can download the MTAC forms for 2016 here:

MTAC 2016 recording form

Survey notes and additional information can be downloaded from here

MTAC 2016 notes in pdf form

MTAC 2016 information notes in word


MTAC has been generously supported by:

NE logodarg logoherpetologic-logoARGUKARC logo


Report on the South West Region Amphibian and Reptile Groups Conference on 14th November 2015 PDF Print

RAGS logo

Peter Richardson with the UKs largest reptile


Saturday 14th November 2015, 

This packed and informative meeting featured a stellar line up of speakers including: Darryn Nash (DICE. University of Kent), Inga Zeisset (University of Brighton), Trevor Beebee (Reptile and Amphibian Group for Somerset), Tony Gent (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation), Chris Gleed Owen (CGO Ecology), Chris Durrant (Queen Mary's University of London), Stewart Edwards (Students Invasive Non-Native Group from Newquay College, Cornwall), Francesca Dunn (Regional Officer for Southern England. Freshwater Habitats Trust), and Peter Richardson (Biodiversity and Fisheries Programme Manager, Marine Conservation Society) who spoke on topics as diverse as: reptile mitigation, adder genetics, water frogs, alpine newts, smooth snake and sand lizard introductions, and the new Mendip Ponds Project. This broad range of topics really show-cased the breadth of conservation work on amphibians and reptiles in the South West, and provoked some lively debate (though only Trevor Beebee was able to discriminate between the water frogs). One of the highlights was a presentation on our largest 'native' herp (with accompanying picture) - and we heard more about marine turtles in the UK from Peter Richardson, the leading expert at the Marine Conservation Society. Our thanks go to John Dickson and his team at RAGS for organising an excellent day.



Highlights of the First Joint Herpetological Scientific Meeting in Dublin PDF Print


HSI packThe first ever Joint Herpetological Scientific Meeting, held at Trinity College, Dublin on Saturday August 29, in 2015 was a great success for all, with some new and many familiar faces, making their way to Dublin to attend a varied series of talks and meet with our Irish counterparts. There were some fantastic talks and posters presenting a variety of research, conservation projects and broader points of view ranging from the travails of the common lizards on a local UNESCO reserve just outside of Dublin, to the importance of land owner engagement in protecting Ireland's natterjack toads. All of the speakers did a great job in engaging and enthusing their audience with their chosen presentation subject. 

The social occassions were also high-points of the meeting, as anyone who came along to Doyle's Bar can attest! Irish lizard 1Although most people had to travel back home soon after the meeting a small number of people stayed through the Sunday, and we had two groups of people go out and see what more Ireland has to offer herpetologically. One group went for a walk along the beautiful cliff walks on Howth Head, encountering about 20 common lizards and a couple of young frogs out and about on the headland. The other group journeyed down to the National Reptile Zoo in Kilkenny, meeting the owner (James Hennessy) who put on a great tour for them in and around the exhibits.

Finally, the raffle was also a huge success, raising €213 towards next year's H.S.I Student Grant Scheme (details of which will be announced soon).


Fun stuff for kids (and their parents and teachers) PDF Print

Kids Stuff - stickers and sheets

GCN Sticker coloured-in with websites min 5cm - max 22cm for printing

ARGUK is delighted to partner with the artist Mabel Harris (www.mabelart.com) to create a vibrant new range of stickers and character sheets for our budding young herpetologists.  These are perfect for events and other herp-themed activities.

Following on from the generous support for our education work by Natural England we are able to make sheets of 24 x 40mm
circular paper stickers available for purchase at a substantial discount at a price of only £2.50 (including first class postage and packaging) for a set of 5 sticker sheets each with a different design including: adder, grass snake, slow-worm, sand lizard (Northern Dune Race), and great crested newt. Additional sheets can be purchased for an extra 50p each. For more information about these or to buy a sticker set please contact us directly on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Ad Sticker coloured-in with websites min 5cm - max 22cmGS Sticker coloured-in with websites min 5cm - max 22cmSL Sticker coloured-in with websites min 5cm - max 22cmSW Sticker coloured-in with websites min 5cm - max 22cm

And our character sheets can be downloaded here:


Addie adder for the webGeorge GCN for the webGertie grass snake for the webSam sand lizard for the webSelina slow-worm for the web

'What's That Snake' and the 'Pond Pack' - KS1 & KS2 resources

Pond Pack from HART thumbnail

We are delighted to be able to bring you two unique resource packs developed especially for kids (at KS1 and KS2) by those clever folk at Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (HART) and the Herefordshire Nature Trust, with loads of fun activities, ideas and stories, to help you find out more about our very special native reptiles.

For reptiles we have 'What's the Snak'e, and for those of you with a pond at school or home, or even in your local park, a special 'Pond Pack'. Both packs have with lots of amazing ideas and activities for primary schools or kids at home.

Please download and use Whats That Snake? and the The Pond Pack at home or for your school, and let us know how you get on.

Have fun!! 

Finding out more

Whats that snake thumbnail pic

And for those of you who are out and about why not download our Amphibian ID guide and Reptile ID Guide to take with you, they will tell you everything you need to know about our native species - if its a frog or newt in your garden pond, or a lizard basking on a wall.

'What's That Snake' and the 'Pond Pack' are part of the ponds and newts heritage netwrok project generously supported by those nice people at the Heritage Lottery Fund, Malvern Hills AONB, Wye Valley AONB and the Wildlife Trusts. 

  HART logoThe Wildlife Trusts logohlf logo small

malvernhillsaonb newwyeaonb smallPonds and NewtsNE logo