Friday, 28 August 2009

Alarming decline of Britain’s ‘common’ reptiles and amphibians highlighted by new photographic field guide.

The author of a new field-guide has expressed alarm at the disappearance of amphibians and reptiles from many parts of the countryside, particularly those species once regarded as ‘common’.

Britain’s Reptiles and Amphibians, published by WILDguides, is the first photographic guide to all of the reptile and amphibian species found in Britain and Ireland and features almost 200 photographs of frogs, toads, newts, snakes, lizards, turtles and terrapins.

The guide includes several species whose name includes the word ‘common’, for example the common toad, common lizard and common frog.

“In researching the guide it became clear that the so-called ‘common’ species are now far from common.” said author Howard Inns.

“Species such as the common lizard have disappeared from many sites they once inhabited and many of the people who monitor common toad populations at traditional breeding ponds reported to me that their numbers have crashed in recent years.” he said.

“Common frogs fare well in garden ponds but they too have declined significantly in the wider countryside.”

The guide is a flagship publication for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, a newly formed charity resulting from the merger of Froglife and The Herpetological Conservation Trust.

Howard Inns, also Vice Chairman of Trustees for the charity, commented further: “The conservation efforts focussed on the rarer species of Britain’s reptiles and amphibians have been successful in recent decades.”

"The creation of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation means that more resource and expertise can be brought to bear on understanding why the more widespread species are in decline and preventing today’s ‘common’ species from becoming tomorrow’s rarities.”

The new field-guide Britain’s Reptiles and Amphibians, published by WILDguides, covers the 16 native reptiles and amphibians that breed in Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands and the 5 marine turtles that visit our seas.

As well as species’ distribution maps the book features introductory sections on their biology and conservation, taxonomy, distinctive life-cycles and the behaviour of each species group.

The field-guide also covers the 15 ‘exotic’ species introduced to the UK deliberately or accidently. In addition it features hints and tips on where, when and how to watch reptiles and amphibians in the wild.

Chris Packham, well known wildlife TV presenter, says of the book in his foreword: “When I flick through its pages I so wish I’d been armed with it when I first began sneaking up on snakes, netting for newts and lunging after lizards.”

To purchase a copy of Britain’s Reptiles and Amphibians for £15.00 (RRP £17.95) visit: or visit:

Proceeds from sales support Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.


  1. This is a great field-guide, with some cracking photos throughout. A worthy addition to any naturalist's bookshelf!

  2. I bought the book, and just seeing the photo inside the front cover made me want to rush down to Southport to see sand lizards.
    Cool creatures!!

    Bill Shaw