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Finding out more about diseases in our native reptiles and amphibians PDF Print

Garden wildlife health posterA special request from our friends at the Institute of Zoology.....

Wildlife disease can cause population declines and even species extinctions. It is important, therefore, that we monitor trends in diseases to determine their impact on populations and to identify new and emerging threats. 

However, our understanding of disease incidence and distribution in our native popluations of amphibians and reptiles, is still relatively poor. The Institute of Zoology (IoZ) have been building a database of disease incidents in amphibians since 1992 and, with the new Garden Wildlife Health project in place, can now extend this to our native wild reptiles. Every report submitted contributes to our understanding of disease threats and each dead animal submitted is examined by a wildlife vet at IoZ. The post mortem results are recorded on a national database and samples are archived into one of the largest wildlife tissue banks in the world. These findings provide an invaluable aid to allow us to study and safeguard the health of British reptiles and amphibians, and the results will be used inform and influence government and NGO policies on conservation management.

All of this is only possible because people (like you!) are motivated to get involved and report what they are seeing. So next time you are out and about, please report any sick or dead amphibians or reptiles to us at the Garden Wildlife Health website.

It's free to get involved in GWH, and you'll receive feedback from a veterinary surgeon about the incident. Furthermore, the project regularly performs post-mortem examination on carcasses to determine the cause of death.

Got any questions? Please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or submit a Disease Incident Report with your question in the comments section on the GWH web-site. Remember, GWH is not just for gardens, you can report incidents from anywhere in Great Britain.

for more information go to www.gardenwildlifehealth.org

Note: Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) is a collaborative project between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which aims to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats to, British wildlife – including reptiles and amphibians. The project receives funding from Defra and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.  The long-term direction of the project is informed by members of the GWH forum which includes Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK (ARGUK), Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) and the Freshwater Habitats Trust.

ARC Snake Publications PDF Print

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation has published a series of snake publications in conjunction with its Summer Snake Stock Take.  The Stock Take informs gardeners about native snakes and when and why they might occur in gardens.  It also encourages submission of records of snake sightings.

These publications can be donwloaded from the ARC website.  They include an information note on snakes in gardens and FAQs and an advice note on the hazards to snakes posed by garden netting - and how to disentangle them.  ARC's snake identification poster has been revised and this is also available as a download.

These snakey resources should be useful to ARG volunteers dealing with seasonal enquiries about snakes in gardens.

This year ARC is celebrating its 25th anniversary - congratulations ARC.

Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group PDF Print

Congratulations to Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group.  KRAG's committee members have published an article in the latest edition of the BHS Bulletin (Number 126): Contributions to local herpetology in Great Britain – The Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group.  The article summarises the history of the group since its formation in 1988 and describes the activities of one of the larger and more active ARGs.  Congratulations to KRAG on its considerable achievements over the years and for summarising these in published document.  Although all ARGs are different (according to local priorities and support) this is a useful and exemplary guide for other groups.

Early Success for the Sefton Coast Sand Lizard Task Force PDF Print

Dune race sand lizard male  copyright Peter HillNorth Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group (NMARG) and other ARG UK volunteers are celebrating the successful creation of egg-laying sites especially for the Merseyside sand lizard.

The Merseyside sand lizard is a unique form of this rare and strictly protected species which has very specific egg-laying requirements.   This spring, volunteers have created over 150 sand patches among the dunes of the Sefton Coast.  Initial indications are that the sand lizards have adopted these egg-laying sites very quickly.  At one location where the species has formerly been in decline, NMARG has now found 11 female lizards, many investigating the newly managed sand patches where they will soon lay eggs.

Mike Brown (NMARG Chairman); " This clearly shows that habitat and species monitoring, combined with targeted habitat management, can have positive results in a very short space of time."

Volunteers from the Amphibian and Reptile Group network have been spearheading emergency habitat restoration for the sand lizard on the Sefton Coast over the winter months.  With funding from the British Herpetological Society (BHS) and the ARG UK 100% Fund, volunteers from several ARG groups have joined forces with conservation professionals from ARC and Sefton Council to remove the vegetation that is shading sand lizard habitat.

Volunteers Sand patching copyright  Peter HillMonitoring of both habitat condition and the species itself, carried out by NMARG, has allowed prioritisation of management activities which are being addressed through an ever strengthening and successful partnership.

"In spite of the success of the habitat management work, there is a great deal more to do, especially tree and scrub removal and sand patch creation, to ensure the local sand lizard survives and increases in numbers," Mike Brown adds. ARC is currently seeking funds to help local partners with monitoring and managing Sefton's sand lizards.

ARG UK (and the sand lizards) are hugely grateful to NMARG, ARGSL, Manchester ARGs, Fylde ARG, SWWARG, ARC, BHS and Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council for collaborating on this essential habitat management work.

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

What's That Snake?

Whats that snake thumbnail picWe are delighted to be able to bring you a unique reptile resource pack 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.

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

Have fun!! 


Finding out moreAmphibian ID guide 2014 - for website

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' is generously supported by those nice people at the Heritage Lottery Fund, Malvern Hills AONB and Wye Valley AONB. 

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Make the Adder Count in 2014 PDF Print

Vb group males H9 newWelcome to Make the Adder Count 2014. 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. 

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 snakes) so that information may be pooled to build a picture of trends in adder populations nationally.

In 2014 the project will  be co-ordinated by the Chair of ARGUK, Chris Monk, who has taken over from John Baker after 8 years of sterling service. To take part please contact him at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 To Take Part in Make the Adder Count

You can download the MTAC forms for 2014 here:

 Make the Adder Count recording form 2014

Survey notes and additional information can be downloaded from here

Make the Adder Count notes 2014


MTAC has been generously supported by:

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