Reptile Survey

Reptile Surveys Reptile Survey image #2 Reptile Survey image #3

Six species of reptile are native to the UK and all species of reptile receive legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with regard to killing and injury. The commoner species include the adder Vipera berus, grass snake Natrix natrix, common lizard Lacerta vivipara and slow worm Anguis fragilis and these species are often associated with grassland and scrub habitats, particularly within neglected areas and brownfield sites. Less common species of reptile include the sand lizard Lacerta agilis and the smooth snake Coronella austriaca, which have much more specialist habitat requirements and more restricted ranges. These latter two species are European Protected Species and receive a much higher level of protection, including protection from disturbance and habitat destruction.

Since reptiles hibernate in the winter, the timing of reptile surveys is seasonally constrained and the optimal times for surveying are between April and September, when reptiles are most active and more likely to be observed. Surveying for reptiles usually involves the walking of a fixed transect and the use of ‘refugia’ to aide in the observation of sheltering and basking reptiles. The surveys are repetitive and will involve at least 7 site visits within the activity period to look for, identify and count individuals.

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