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Photo © Jon Cranfield

Anna Muir at HMW 2013 copyright Lothian ARG



The annual Herp Workers' Meeting is the event of the year for anyone interested in conserving amphibians and reptiles. Each year, a lively throng of herpetologists gathers to exchange ideas, debate hot topics, soak up inspiration and catch up with old friends. What better way to spend a weekend, just before the field season?

In 2014 we will be at Bristol Zoo. As ever, the programme will be a mix of up-to-the-minute research, practical conservation experiences, and reviews and dicussions about herpetofauna hot topics, with talks and workshops to cater for all interests. In 2014 these will include: an update on adder conservation presenting perspectives from Herefordshire ARG, ARC and the Institue of Zoology; the findings of the 2013 Toadsize project; the latest research from Holland on novel ways of preventing roadside drains from harming toads; the results of a Europe-wide study of amphibian disease; what our dedicated teams of ARG volunteers have discovered from surveying Sefton's sand lizards and Dudley's amphibians; and going "beyond the bottle-trap" to capture the latest developments in aquatic newt trapping. We are also delighted to welcome our very special guest speaker, Giancarlo Lalsingh of SOS (Save our Sea Turtles) Tobago, who will be telling us about the successes and challenges of conserving Tobago's sea turtles.

During the breaks, you'll be free to enjoy the zoo, which has a fantastic track record in native species work, and makes a wonderful visit. And of course we'll be laying on a social evening, with gala dinner, raffle and quiz. The meeting has been jointly organised by ARC and ARG-UK – a winning partnership for herp conservation.

We are still looking for sponsors. For the first time in many years, we have no government funding for the meeting to help offset our costs, and are relying on the generosity of our volunteers, partners and associates. Please get in touch if you can help. 

This year, this ever-popular conference has sold out, very early - so if you want to go, you will have to go onto our reserve list.

The 2014 HWM is generously supported by:

bristol-zoo-logoCaledonian ConservationCGO-ecologyHSI-logoBHS logoFAH Docs workable hesketh-ecologySARG logo  herpetologic-logoARGUKARC logo   

Reporting from the actual meeting today Saturday 17th Nov. So far we have had talks on reptile mitigation and guidance from Chris gleed-Owen and a rather entertaining talk from Jim Foster from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. 

Going through the England Biodiversity Strategy with Paul Edgar from Natural England. 

Wow wow latest developments on great crested newt future strategies which will take money for conservation rather than spend millions on mitigation. 

How will this work with widespread reptiles work? 

IMG 00000039IMG 00000041

Now onto John Buckley (Chris Packhams teacher) looking at the reintroduction of the Pool Frog into Norfolk the seventh English amphibian species and the rarest in the UK. History, research, and an update on what has happened and a talk which was presented at the World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, this year. 

Up next would be Martin Noble and sand lizard captive breeding part of one of the most successful reintroduction projects in the UK if not the world! 

Almost lunchtime back later with pictures from the natterjack and sand lizard enclosures. sadly the enclosures are being refurbished so no tour of the enclosures boo! 

The next talk is going to be interesting smooth snakes, new forest and burning...


Ray Cranfield Adder conservation


Thanks to the wonderful sponsors of next years Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting (in Edinburgh over the 26th to 27th January 2013) we can announce that the registration for the meeting has been  reduced!!

What a way to celebrate the start of 2013 'the Year of the Snake' but also the start of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.   An excellent meeting of presentations, and workshops mixed in with brilliant social events including a Burns Night themed gala dinner and of course the herpy quiz 'Have I got Newts for You!'

The early bird registration rate (before 21st December) is just £70 for the two day meeting per person for concessions (ARG members, BHS members, ARC Friends and Students)

 Don't delay and book onto this meeting today!!!

Download the form

icon  Booking Form for Herpetofauna Workers Meeting 2013


Photographs - South West Meeting - Somerset 2010 - Chris Gleed-Owen (left) & Freya Smith (right)

The South West Regional Meeting of ARG UK  promises to be a day of brilliant talks on reptile and amphibian conservation in the South West. A different format has been put together which includes a round of news from the ARG's in the South West and a lunch time seminar 'Raising the profile of reptiles in the South West'.

Devon Reptile & Amphibian Group are this year's hosts and the meeting is being held 

Saturday 10th December 2011
Coaver Club, County Hall, Matford Lane, Exeter, Devon County Council, EX2 4PS

Please download the programme and booking form
ARG members - £20.00 others £35.00


If you wander along the artwork, banners, art installations and the many messages plastered over pillars and the nearby buildings at the Occupy London Protest site (otherwise known as #OccupyLSX) you may notice makeshift posters highlighting the plight of UK wildlife. Probably a strange place for such messages to appear. It was refreshing to see amongst the socialist, anarchist proverbs and other statements against corporations, banks and society.

The posters are printed on paper and placed into plastic folders taped onto the walls of buildings and pinned to the street trees around St Paul's Cathedral.  The animals featured include the small tortoiseshell butterfly and honey bee.  As I walked back towards the underground I spotted an amphibian poster - the common frog.  

The Campaign Against Urban Sprawl has adopted Nathan the Natterjack a species which is endangered in the UK and is apparently threatened by the government's plans for the National Planning System. The common frog is also threatened as it is widespread, it is declining and the animal and its habitat is not protected at all.

The common frog is the best known amphibian in the UK so perhaps a stroke of genius, on the part of the unnamed posterer, it brings attention to the lost of wildlife habitats in the UK. The common frog has suffered due to 70+ years of intensive agriculture which removed its breeding habitat from the heart of the countryside.

The solution as the poster says the frog needs 'a good supply of little ponds' and so does British freshwater biodiversity.  This tenuous link takes us to the Million Ponds Project by Pond Conservation. The project's aim is to bring back 600,000 ponds over 50 years. In the first few years of the project hundreds of ponds have been created with the help of various partners including local ARG's charities, nature organisations, land owners etc.

The ARG UK are developing a project for 2012 to dig a further 1,000 ponds over the UK using volunteers following the criteria set out in the Million Ponds Project Pond toolkit -

  • Clean water (rain fed)
  • at least 1m2 in diameter
  • filled for 4 months of the year
  • left to colonise naturally 
(it has to be said that no one from ARG UK have added these posters the protesters have put up them up we assume)

Save the Frogs win $25,000

SAVE THE FROGS! finished in the Top 20 Leaderboard of the Chase Community Giving Contest, earning us $25,000 for our worldwide amphibian conservation efforts.

Thanks to Chase Bank and the 2,343 people who took the time to vote for us and help spread the word!!

This extra funding will be of huge assistance on our quest to SAVE THE FROGS!, enabling us to ramp up our environmental education programs and our campaigns against pesticides, the frog legs trade, dissections and habitat destruction. That being said, this generous contribution from Chase Bank in no ways covers all the costs required to fix the massive amounts of ecological damage our society has already caused; indeed a scientific report from 2007 calculated that amphibian conservation efforts require at least 80 million dollars per year...and SAVE THE FROGS! operates on about one-thousandth of that. We have seemingly endless lists of progams we would like to implement that unfortunately still lack funding. So while this unexpected influx of $25,000 is fabulous, we still rely on your support now as much as ever.

Thanks again to all who helped us win this $25,000: the frogs thank you!!!

SKiM in victory to Save Kiln Meadow

There has been some exciting news regarding the possible sale of Kiln Meadow an important wildlife site which was threatened with development in 2008. This Tuesday the council revoked the agreement to sell the land after a long campaign by Ipswich Wildlife Group and SKiM Save Kiln Meadow. A petition was launched on Ipswich Council's website to try and get the council to turn the meadow into a Local Nature Reserve.

Jen Jousiffe has reported the following on the Save Kiln Meadow Facebook Page

'Mission (very nearly) accomplished!!!! If you' got a few minutes to spare, join us at 11a.m. today at the Marbled White Drive end of KIln Meadow.
Last night the Executive of Ipswich Borough Council decided to revoke the sale of Kiln Meadow. There wil now be consultations about the future of the meadow.'

The issue goes right to the heart of the future of the planning system especially as the National Planning Policy Framework consultation has just been completed and the new localism bill has become law.

The site is home to a variety of wildlife including three Biodiversity Action Plan species including toads, reptiles and dormice. The toad population was one of the largest populations in the country. Ipswich Wildlife Group took the council to judicial review.

News items

Newsflash - The chair of the Ipswich Wildlife Group will be interviewed on BBC Radio Suffolk in Spring Wood (an adjoining wildlife site) at 07.20am

Jen - 'Ray, the Chair of Ipswich Wildlife Group, will be in a live broadcast from Spring Wood on BBC Radio Suffolk tomorrow at about 7.20a.m.'

Find out more on the SKiM website and Facebook page 


The South East Regional Meeting for the ARG UK was hosted by Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group this weekend. The meeting was a huge success with over 100 attendees who were treated to adder conservation related talks and presentations from Kent, Surrey, UK, and in Europe.

The meeting was yet again a meeting which was has not been seen anywhere else in the world. An important meeting which really did grapple with the pressing issue of adder conservation in the UK and beyond. Further information will be released about the conclusions of the meeting and the way forward for protecting our only venomous snake -

NEWSFLASH the meeting voted overwhelmingly for 'naming the Adder as the most threatened reptile in South East Kent/UK...'

Please sign the petition on twitter 

SEE the PRESS RELEASE - Adders in Crisis - Nov 21st

More news 

Daily Mail - End of the adder? Britain's only poisonous snake is in danger of dying out, scientists warn
 (yes the adder is 'venomous' see if you could spot any other mistakes in this article)

More articles to be published very soon


The Sticky Tongue Project Premiere Episode from our new, full-featured series, The Herparazzi.  Follow the Herparazzi team as they explore De Hoge Fronten, a collection of battlements that were built in the 17th and 18th century for the defense and protection of Maastricht, The Netherlands.
There, they found the last remaining and most northern natural population of wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) in The Netherlands.

Urban Dragons of the Ruins from The StickyTongueProject on Vimeo.

It's not just about the animals ... it's also about the adventure!

Kent ARG

The final programme of the Adder conservation themed regional meeting on the 19th November has been released. What promises to be a great selection of talks local to Kent, Nationally and on European propsectives on conserving the adder in the UK, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Plus a roung up of what ARGs have been up to in the South East and London 

Download the programme

SE & London ARG UK Regional Meeting Final Programme

There are one or two spaces still available but please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for info.


The ponds which were dug at Nevendon this October have started to fill with water. The clay is still quite dry but it is gradually getting soaked with water and at least a dozen of the ponds are jolding water. As the ground gets wetter we hope that the majority of the ponds will become full.

We hope to record the wildlife in these ponds and we hope to see frogs spawning in a few years time. We expect to see water beetles and other invertebrates quite soon. We are also interested to see whether pond plants move into the ponds. We will keep you posted.

Have a look at the project page to find out more 

NEWSFLASH - sadly the Guinness World Records did not accept our record application on the following grounds

'While we certainly do not underestimate your proposal, we do however think that this
item is a little too specialised for a body of reference as general as ours. Wereceive many thousands of record claims every year and we think you will appreciate that we are bound to favour those which reflect the greatest interest.'

We are claiming the record for digging the most ponds in 8 hours. However we have to wait for the ponds to form from the holes we have dug into the clay at Nevendon Nature Reserve.

Here are a few of the ponds this November, updates on their progress will be recorded over the next few years please keep an eye on this page to see the latest.




Weekend of 22 and 23 October 2011Nevendon, near Wickford

NEWSFLASH - sadly the Guinness World Records did not accept our record application on the following grounds

'While we certainly do not underestimate your proposal, we do however think that this
item is a little too specialised for a body of reference as general as ours. We receive many thousands of record claims every year and we think you will appreciate
that we are bound to favour those which reflect the greatest interest.'

'Guinness World Records has absolute discretion as to which record applications areaccepted and our decision is final.'

It was a long shot and the idea was from the London Wildlife trust's bee hotel record that prompted us to try and get a record for creating one of the most important habitats for freshwater biodiversity - small shallow clean water ponds as found in the Million Ponds Project. We are claiming the unofficial world record for digging ponds by hand and we hope to encourage people to try and break our record for the good of the UK's freshwater Biodiversity. We will be back with a bigger grander idea for 2012. Hope you all enjoy the video and the series which will follow the progress of the 50 ponds in Wickford, Essex. 

50 Pond Challenge PRESS RELEASE 18th October 2011

Pond ConservationEssex ARGHerpetologic ltdAmphibian & Reptile Groups of the UK

The Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation are asking bonfire night celebrators to look out for toads and frogs before they light their fires.Fire

Frogs"People tend to check for hedgehogs in the wood they have gathered for their fire," says Andrew Halstead, Principal RHS Entomologist.  "But it is equally likely that toads, frogs and newts will have found shelter in these piles and might be missed.  Toads and frogs play an important role as predators in the garden and should be encouraged."

Bonfire organisers can divert amphibians away from the bonfire site, and give them safe shelter, by:

-having smaller log piles

-creating heaps of leaves away from the main pile

In Autumn hedgehogs, frogs, newts and toads search for places to hibernate and piles of wood for bonfires can appear to be ideal hibernating spots.  All three charities advise that:

-fires should be built on the day that they are to be lit  

-wood piles made before this are fine but the wood should be moved to a clear, debris-free final spot only on the day

"Bonfire organisers can divert amphibians away from the bonfire site, and give them safe shelter, by having smaller log piles, or heaps of leaves, away from the main pile," says Morag Shuaib of The Wildlife Trusts.  "And before lighting the re-built bonfire pile, it is a good idea to make a final check by torchlight, to make sure nothing has sneaked in."

Remember, remember the amphibians on the 5th of November!

Thank you

Sophie Hinton

CLARE Project Officer


Amphibian and Reptile Conservation


London Wildlife Trust

Skyline House

200 Union Street

London SE1 0LX

switchboard: 020 7261 0447

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

mobile: 07810 184 501

On 7th July 2009, HCT became Amphibian and Reptile Conservation,

a new voice for conserving frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards.


The 21st Anniversary Celebration of The UK Amphibian and Reptile Group Network 


 Park Inn, Cardiff City Centre, Mary Ann Street, Cardiff, CF10 2JH

January 29-30 2011.

 HWM 2011 Programme.  Includes presentations, workshops and social evening.  A great learning and networking opportunity for anyone interested in UK herps conservation.  Now offering additional workshop from Linewatch.

HWM 2011 Booking Form.

Please download a flyer for HWM 2011 to pass on or pin to a notice board etc.

Please discuss the meeting on social networks and use the

Hash tag #HWM2011


The ARG UK has joined twitter. You can follow all the latest news from our local groups, regional meetings and the national Herpetofauna Workers' meeting as it happens in 140 characters or less! 

Follow ARGgroupsUK on Twitter

Follow the ARG UK Panel Daily through twitter

You can also join our facebook group 

ARG UK facebook group


The first talk was from Steve Langham from Surrey ARG who went through the surveys being undertaken within Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex for the rarer reptiles - smooth snake and sand lizard. Some very impressive figures was displayed from the survey programme with over 5,000 records generated over one season. Over 1,000 survey tins have been deployed with a core group of 50 surveyors the Surrey ARG is definitely one of the leading ARG's in the region.

The next talk was from Richard Smith and the Parks Trust over their reptile survey in Milton Keynes. The survey project was inspired further by the Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting this year by Herefordshire Amphibian & Reptile Team's project 'Whats that Snake'. Richard highlighted how the survey was undertaken with training courses for volunteers and effective work with the local media which resulted in many more records from Milton Keynes where previously very few reptile records were known.

The first of two workshops was looking at limiting biases in the collection and collation of survey data - presented by the Green Space for Greater London (GiGL) the meeting was broken up into four groups and all enjoyed the debate and reported back on various issues relating to this important issue with local records and data flow.

After Lunch the next round of talks concerned Non Native Frogs, Unveiling the new ARG UK website, Sliding Scales Campaign and how ARGs could work more effectively with the ARC Trust.

The last workshop was concerned with the hot topic of mitigation and the future of this in the UK. A spirited presentation by Kevin Morgan was followed by four discussions on the main points of how herpetofauna is considered within the mitigation process in planning applications and other projects.

A full write will follow in due course. The meeting was a real pleasure to attend and present at with an opportunity to meet mew people and the main players from the South East Region.

Photos from twitter

Richard Smith - South East regional meeting 13th Nov 2010South East Regional Meeting 2010
South East Regional Meeting 13th Nov 2010

Give and Let Live - Ethical Pond Gifts

Pond Conservation - Give & let live

The ARG UK is a partner with the Million Ponds Project which is being spearheaded by Pond Conservation. Pond Conservation has recently launched Give & let live which is aimed at unlocking money for creating new ponds in the UK. If you would like to support pond creation in the UK and have something different to give as a gift then please click on the link to find out more


Field Studies Council - Herpetofauna Training

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the The Field Studies Council have teamed up to provide a series of training courses, aimed at professionals, for 2011.  These include:

  • Great crested newts, licensing and mitigation
  • Great crested newts and lisensing for surveyors
  • Working with natterjacks
  • Reptile survey
  • Widespread reptiles and mitigation
  • Pond assessment and management
Brochure available icon ARC FSC professional training brochure.