Sunday, 30 October 2011

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

The Royal Horticultural Society, The Wildlife Trusts and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation are asking organisers of bonfire night celebrations to look out for amphibians before they light their fires.

"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"

Garden frogs, toads and newts can be very active at this time of year as they look to stock up on invertebrate prey for winter,” says Dr. John Wilkinson of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. “Although people may think of amphibians as creatures that occur only in the countryside, gardens are important refuges for many of them”.

Like hedgehogs, amphibians (frogs, toads and newts) seek out sheltered parts of gardens in the autumn weather to prepare for the cold winter. Unlit bonfires can be perfect because they offer protection from predators, and because they attract amphibian prey including woodlice, worms, spiders and beetles.

"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."

So to keep our amphibians safe on November 5th by following these tips:
  • Provide alternative safe hiding places by creating small log piles of heap of leave away from the main stack.
  • Don’t build you bonfire until the day it will be lit.
  • Make sure to check any pre-built bonfires thoroughly before lighting.
Remember, remember the amphibians on the 5th of November!

Thank you

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Herpetofauna Workers Meeting - 2012

Due to the increasing popularity of this annual event, we are delighted to announce that the Herpetofauna Workers’ Meeting 2012 will be held at the Telford International Centre (T.I.C.), Shropshire, Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th January. This venue is just three hours travel from the majority of the UK population so we are hoping that it will provide everybody an opportunity to attend!

We have a full and varied programme of presentations and updates from ARGs throughout the UK as well as workshops to suit all interests and to inspire anyone with an interest in herpetology for the season ahead. Everyone is welcome, from novices to students and volunteer surveyors to University Professors! There will also be an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones at our Gala Dinner and social evening which includes the return of Britain’s premier herpetological quiz – ‘Have I got newts for you!’

For more information and to download a flyer, booking form and/or the provisional programme visit

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Nick Baker at ARC/LWT/CLARE stand at WildlifeXpo

ARC, LARG, GiGL and London Wildlife Trust together as part of the CLARE project took the last of the season’s herps to the WildlifeXpo last weekend to raise awareness of the amphibians and reptiles who call the capital their home. We had a great variety of the city’s herps on display, including a large and beautiful grass snake which attracted many people’s attention including TV Naturalist Nick Baker (known for his love of herpetofauna). With over 2,000 visitors to the Xpo we’d like to say a big thank you to those who came along and gave us their sightings. They will be of enormous help in safeguarding a future for these fantastic animals in and around London...

Tell us your sightings online at

As the nights draw in...

At this time of year we still sometimes get occasional reports of reptiles and amphibians sightings – these range from lizards or snakes basking in the last of the autumn sun to frogs and toads out hunting for food on cool, damp evenings. In both cases, the animals are preparing for hibernation and don’t need any human help unless caught away from shelter during a very sudden cold snap. If this does happen, they will be very sluggish and can be gently moved to a nearby area that provides shelter – such as a clump of vegetation, log or rock pile. Britain’s herpetofauna is well-adapted to cope with even the coldest of winters but our autumn weather can sometimes catch them out – especially with our present very variable weather! When winter really kicks in ponds may freeze over. For more information about what to do when this happens visit the ARC frequently asked questions pages here