Thursday, 6 December 2012

Draft Survey Protocols for the British Herpetofauna

Survey Protocols for the British Herpetofauna Over the last two years a range of interested parties, including statutory bodies, NGOs (including ARC-Trust and ARG UK), academics and commercial practitioners have been examining survey protocols for amphibians and reptiles. A series of workshops was held around Great Britain between spring 2011 and spring 2012. This enabled the latest scientific research to be disseminated to those in the field, whilst field practitioners in turn flagged up areas where they considered further research and guidance was needed. The draft protocols that resulted from these workshops are now available and there will be a brief period of consultation whilst comments on the proposals are invited. These should be made to Dr David Sewell, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Marlowe Building, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR or e-mailed to to arrive no later than 27th December 2012.

Download the Draft Proposals here

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

ARC Professional Training Courses 2013

We are pleased to announces our professional training programme for 2013, conducted in partnership with the Field Studies Council. To see more details about these courses download the brochure here. All bookings for these courses are taken by the Field Studies Council. To register and pay online, please visit the FSC website.

The six courses available are:

Great Crested Newts & Licensing for Surveys
28th March 2013 AND 3rd April 2013

Working with Natterjacks: understanding their ecology, surveys and licensing
25th April 2013

Lives of British Amphibians: ecology & identification
11th -12th May 2013

Reptile Surveys
15th May 2013

Reptiles & Amphibians
17th - 20th May 2013

Great Crested Newts, Licensing & Mitigation
26th - 28th November 2013

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


The recent Wales Amphibian and Reptile Symposium (WARS) and Wales and the Marches ARG Meeting was a hugely successful event, attracting  seventeen speakers and seventy five individuals from a range of backgrounds, including ARGs, ecological consultants, county council ecologists and academics.

The event was organised by Mark Barber, through ARC’s Community Engagement in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Across Wales project, which is funded by CCW. It was held at the centrally located Media Resource Centre in Llandrindod Wells, on Saturday the 3rd of November. A range of enjoyable talks focussed on the enormous variety of work being undertaken for amphibians and reptiles in Wales – from modelling newt distribution to reconnecting populations through building ponds! It is hoped this event will encourage further action for the conservation of Welsh herpetofauna by boosting ARG activity and by inspiring the creation of new ARGs. A proceedings to the symposium will be released in due course.

Monday, 22 October 2012

ARC Christmas Cards

ARC once again have some brilliant and original Christmas cards for sale!

You can either purchase a set of eight cards including four herpafauna themed designs created by Leon Hills (author/illustrator of How Very Very Nice! and And After That He Ate Them!) for £3.50 (plus £1 p&p)
or a set of five cards featuring a design by our own Research & Monitoring Officer, Dr John Wilkinson for £2.50 (plus £1 p&p).
 If you would like to purchase some of these lovely cards please contact us via e-mail at or call us on 01202 391319.

For more information about Leon Hills work please e-mail

Thursday, 18 October 2012

ARC Stocking Fillers!

It's almost that time of year again, when we start to think about Christmas gifts. How about treating the Herpafauna enthusiast in your life (or yourself for that matter!) to some of our lovely stocking fillers. This way they can show their support to ARC and know that they have helped fund our valuable work protecting the UK's native amphibians and reptiles.

ARC Pin Badge - £1.50 (plus £1 p&p)

ARC Lanyard - £2.00 (plus £1 p&p)

ARC 100% Cotton Bag - £2.50 (plus £1.50 p&p)
Fairtrade accredited, ethically audited, carbon neutral factory and hand washable
37.5cm x 43cm


If you choose to buy all three of our ARC stocking fillers we will give you a special discounted price of £5.00 (plus £1.50 p&p) for the whole bundle!

If you'd like to purchase some of these lovely gifts please contact us via e-mail at or call us on 01202 391319.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

First phase of the Million Ponds Project is a success!

The first phase of the Million Ponds Project, funded by the Tubney Trust and Biffaward, has reached a successful conclusion.

The project, coordinated by Pond Conservation and involving Amphibian and Reptile Conservation as the lead partner, has helped to create over 1000 ponds to benefit Biodiversity Action Plan species across England and Wales. Over the past four years the project has:
  • focussed attention on the variety of freshwater habitats needed by these species.
  • highlighted the importance of pond design.
  • raised awareness of the value of temporary ponds.
A wide variety of water bodies has been created by the Million Ponds Project, from large ponds designed for water voles, to shallow temporary pools on sand dunes designed for the natterjack toad.
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’s role in the project has been to help create ponds for the natterjack toad, common toad, great crested newt and grass snake. This has been a great success, with over 467 ponds created for the great crested newt and 47 for the natterjack toad. This is perhaps one of the most successful efforts to create such ponds in recent years.

David Orchard, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’s Pond Project Officer, said “We know that amphibians need good terrestrial habitats, but without suitable breeding ponds they are unable to survive. The Million Ponds Project has been an opportunity to support amphibian populations across England and Wales in a very practical way.”

Another important achievement of the project has been to increase general understanding of the importance of clean water, the essential component of good quality ponds. (Clean water is that which is not contaminated by runoff from roads or agriculture or excessively disturbed, for example by artificially high numbers of birds.)

The project has produced a huge range of material which is free to download from the Pond Conservation website.

The Million Ponds Project is a fifty year vision with the aim of ensuring the UK has at least one million ponds in the landscape, approximately the same number that existed in 1900. Work over the past four years has been the first step towards this ambitious target, providing a firm foundation for the future.

David Orchard
Pond Project Officer

Monday, 17 September 2012

ARC Friends Day 2012!

On Saturday 15th September Amphibian and Reptile Conservation held the first dedicated Friends Day in Dorset since becoming Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in 2009. We had 14 attendees, some travelling from as far afield as Wales and Suffolk to come and meet species they hadn’t seen before! 

Dr Tony Gent, ARC’s C.E.O kicked off the day with an introduction to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, what we get up to and media coverage of snakes - especially the adder and how it has suffered through history with a bad reputation. Gary Powell, Senior Reserves Manager followed with his presentation on Reptiles and gave a run- down of our native species, how they behave and how they use their habitats and just before lunch John Buckley, Amphibian Conservation Officer talked about our native amphibians including the extensive work he has done over the years with Natterjack toads. After a quick tea break Gary went on to describe how we manage the heath to benefit herpetofauna and what would happen if the management didn’t take place.

Over the lunch break we had a grass snake, two smooth snakes, two slow-worms and three sand lizards to introduce to everybody. For some it was their first experience of seeing a smooth snake in the flesh and they were surprised at just how smooth and silky they were to touch! The sand lizards were also a rare treat for some - many thanks to Martin Noble of New Forest Ecological Consultants for lending us the two captive bred sand lizards!
Before long we had the snakes and lizards bagged up and we made our way on to Parley Common. Gary did a great job showing everybody round pointing out areas of interest such as potential hibernacula. One of my highlights was the release of a rescued sand lizard which had been found on site a couple of days earlier and had been trapped in some scrapped scaffolding for up to two months. After a good meal of crickets the night before, he reluctantly left Gary (minus part of his tail) to fatten himself up before going in to hibernation!

The sun was very hot in the afternoon so it wasn’t ideal for spotting reptiles out in the open but we did find some under tins and some common lizards basking in the gorse. Heathland is full of wildlife and whilst we made our way around the reserve to put our snakes and slow-worms back under their tins we saw buzzards, stonechats, caterpillars, butterflies, spiders, grass hoppers and heathland plants such as the marsh gentian and sundew and these attracted just as much attention!

It was a superb day and I really enjoyed meeting and speaking to everyone. Many thanks to those who came along to enjoy the day with us, to the staff members that put their time in and to John Hanrahan - Manager of the Heatherlands Centre.

You can watch the film about the day by clicking here!

Angela Reynolds

Rare Sand Lizards Released Back to the Wild at Farnham Heath

Today [Monday 17 September] conservationists are giving the UK's rarest lizard a helping hand, when 40 captive bred sand lizards will be released at the RSPB’s Farnham Heath nature reserve.

The release is the start of a long-term conservation project to restore the species to this part of its historic range.

The RSPB is working with Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (ARC) and Natural England, the Government conservation authority, to safeguard the future of these magnificent lizards.

Due to vast habitat losses across the UK, sand lizards now only occur naturally in Surrey and Dorset where it lives on sandy heathland, and further north in Merseyside where it is confined to coastal sand dune systems.

Sand lizards are believed to have been lost from the Farnham Heath site when the land was planted up with a commercial conifer crop after the Second World War.

Since 2004 the RSPB has restored over 70 ha of heathland at Farnham Heath and much of this is now in a suitable condition to support this beautiful animal once again.

Mike Coates, the RSPB site manager for Farnham Heath said: “There have always been sand lizards present on Gong Hill, which is next to our reserve, but they were confined to a very small pocket of suitable habitat.

Once our heathland restoration work started to take effect, they did spread onto our land west of Old Frensham Road. However, even minor roads can act as a barrier, and, despite searching, there was no sign of them on the remainder of our reserve, east of the road.

So we decided that we should use animals from the ARC's on-going captive breeding programme, to establish a second population on the eastern part of the reserve.”

ARC, under licence from Natural England, maintain a captive breeding population of animals, originally drawn from sites in Surrey, to provide a source of young lizards that can be re-introduced to areas where suitable habitat has been created.

Rob Free, from ARC said: “The superb restoration and management of the Farnham Heath site has allowed good recovery of many of our native heathland species.

It has also allowed us this opportunity to help restore the sand lizard’s former historic range through this joint partnership re-introduction. We believe this has every chance of success as the site is very well managed to cater for all heathland species and is ideal for this particular species’ habitat requirements.”

This is the start of a three year project, with further releases of 40-50 juvenile lizards planned for each autumn.

The UK’s largest lizard, reaching up to 20cm in length, sand lizards are active from late March through to late October; with the males emerge from hibernation first followed by younger animals then females.

Mike Coates added: “During the breeding season the male's sides become highly coloured, with some individuals turning almost completely bright green.

We hope they will thrive here at Farnham Heath, and that visitors might be able to glimpse the spectacular males basking alongside paths in years to come.”

Monday, 10 September 2012

Annual ARC-BHS Scientific Meeting - December 2012

The programme for the extremely popular joint scientific meeting of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the British Herpetological Society has now been finalised!

The meeting will take place on Sunday 9th December, from 9:30am to 5:00pm and will be held at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society.

Registration closes on Friday 23rd November. This event is always oversubscribed so book now to avoid disappointment!  For more details and to register for the meeting please download the flyer HERE

Friday, 7 September 2012

Jim Foster joins ARC as Conservation Director

Jim worked on the Froglife Common Species Project from 1994-9. That post supported the emerging ARG movement, and provided guidance for herp workers across a range of sectors. From 1999 to 2011 Jim was the national amphibian and reptile specialist at Natural England. There he worked on a range of conservation issues including legislation, surveillance and species recovery – often in collaboration with partners such as ARC. After taking voluntary redundancy last year, he’s been doing consultancy and supporting local conservation projects.

As Conservation Director, Jim hopes to expand ARC’s capacity to deliver major gains for herps. “It’s an exciting time to join the ARC team,” he says. “There are plenty of changes afoot: some major shifts in the way government works on biodiversity, and a hefty review of wildlife legislation, to name but two. ARC is well-positioned to influence all these initiatives, so I’m delighted to be helping with that. And of course, it’s fantastic to be working with site management colleagues who keep herp hotspots in top condition.” He’s looking forward to being a passionate advocate for herps, working in co-operation with landowners, volunteers, recorders, scientists, government agencies and other conservation organisations.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


This course will run in 27th-29th November in collaboration with the Field Studies Council and Jim Fairclough, Senior Ecologist with Golder Associates. It is aimed at those ecologists with knowledge and experience of great crested newt survey techniques but limited experience of licensing and mitigation projects. It will include case-study, syndicate exercises, sites visits and demonstration techniques to help participants understand licence application and mitigation projects. It will include completing the Natural England method statement (WML-A14-2) and cover in depth the best practice protocols to approach mitigation.
For more details and to book, please visit the Field Studies Council website.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Herpetofauna Children's Books! How Very Very Nice! - AVAILABLE NOW!

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation have been working with author and artist Leon Hill to create two new and exciting children's books.

These books arose from the desire of both the artist and ARC to raise awareness of the complex environment in which reptiles and amphibians live.

We are pleased to have supported the production of these books through our long-standing involvement with the artist (he also creates our Christmas cards!). Leon's story and pictures show some of the wide diversity of wildlife that we are working to conserve and how they depend on each other. We're sure Leon's books will inspire readers to enjoy and appreciate nature more and, perhaps, become involved in helping to conserve it.

These books are now available to buy direct from ARC with a percentage of the profits going toward our important work.
  • How Very Very Nice! (Paperback) - £4.50 (plus p&p 1st Class - £1.00, 2nd Class - £1.25)
  • And After That He Ate Them! (Paperback) - £6.00 (plus p&p 1st Class - £2.50, 2nd Class - £2.00)
  • And After That He Ate Them! (Hardback) - £7.50 (plus p&p 1st Class - £2.50, 2nd Class - £2.00)
If you'd like to purchase some of these lovely books please contact us via e-mail at or call us on 01202 391319.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Joint meeting Sunday 21st October 2012, 2.30 – 7.00 pm 
at the Drake Hall, Amersham Community Centre, Chiltern Ave, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 5AH

Chairman: Simon Townso

2.30 – 3.00 Arrival and coffee/refreshments

3.00 – 3.40 Matthew Rendle (Zoological Society of London): ‘Breeding Tree Boas in Captivity’.

3.40 – 4.20 Richard Griffiths (Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent): ‘Chameleon Trade and Conservation in Madagascar’.

Short break and refreshments/informal session (see below)

Chairman: Colin Melsom

5.00 – 5.40 Doug Bell (Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, Cayman Islands): ‘Blue Iguana Recovery Programme – Captive Breeding and Release of Cyclura lewisi’.

5.40 – 6.20 Tell Hicks ‘Herpetology of the Galapagos Islands’.

6.20 -7.00 Further refreshments and an Open and Informal Session for members – Exhibition of captive bred animals and items/posters of herpetological interest (including science, books, art, photography). There will be limited space for up to 20 exhibits, plus the Thames & Chiltern herpetological shop for equipment/dry goods.  Members who would like space should contact Simon Townson (01438 219522 eves or or Colin Melsom (01494 865088) eves or 

Amersham is easy to get to via J18 of the M25 or by tube/rail to Amersham station. Parking and entrance to the meeting are free.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

ARC Frineds Day!

Come and spend the day with us in Dorset to meet some of the ARC team, learn about our native amphibians and reptiles and get a tour around one of our reserves to see them in the wild!

Saturday 15th September 2012
The Heatherlands Centre - Parley Common
Barns Road, Tricketts Cross,
Ferndown, Dorset BH22 8AS

The day will start with a general introduction to ARC and will be followed by presentations on habitat management, amphibians and reptiles. After a break for lunch we will venture out on to one of our reserves to show you around and go reptile spotting! Live animals will be present for you to meet on the day along with experts to answer any questions you might have. Download the ARC Friends Day Programme here

Friends of ARC can come for FREE and family and friends of members for £5 per person. Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment!

For more information and to book your place please email Angela before Friday 17th August at

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Saturday 22 September 2012
9:30am – 4:00pm
National Forest Waterside Centre
Bath Yard, Bath Lane, Moira
Swadlincote, DE12 6BA

The registration fee (£12.00 per person , £6.00 for members of ARG UK) includes a full programme of talks and a buffet lunch. Download your booking form and provisional programme here. Make sure you register by Friday 14th September!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bournemouth Naturally Wildlife Walks and Workshops

Bournemouth Naturally is a new project, based at Bournemouth Natural Science Society, that aims to get people out onto their local greenspace recording wildlife. Discover the wildlife on your doorstep and help build up a picture of the biodiversity of Bournemouth. We need you to get out onto the wonderful greenspaces of Bournemouth and start recording your wildlife sightings; the BNSS (and partners) are offering a variety of workshops and guided walks if you would like some help getting started.

Saturday 4th August – Dragonfly Identification Workshop and Walk
Indoor Identification Workshop - 10am BNSS
A talk by local dragonfly expert and vice county recorder Andrew Brown, this will include information about dragonfly and damselfly ecology and guidance on identification of the wonderful variety of species encountered on sites in Bournemouth.
Dragonfly/Damselfly Identification Walk - 2pm Iford Meadows
A visit to a local greenspace adjacent to the river Stour where you can you can learn more about the habitat of dragonflies and damselflies and practice identification under the guidance of Andrew.

Saturday 15th September – Reptile Identification Workshop and Walk
Indoor Identification Workshop - 10am BNSS
Talk by Richard Sharp from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation outlining the ecology and identification of reptile species found in Bournemouth with an exercise to practice identification skills and survey techniques.
Reptile Identification Walk - 2pm Turbary Common, Bournemouth.
A visit to an important local site that is home to all six native species of reptile, learn more about heathland conservation and practice your reptile identification skills under Richards guidance.

All Bournemouth Naturally wildlife walks and workshops are free to attend. Please note:
  • Workshops may be limited by numbers so please contact project officer Heather Dixon (contact details below) if you are interested in coming along to a workshop or walk.
  • Outdoor sessions may be subject to cancellation in bad weather so please provide an email address or contact number where possible.
  • If attending both a workshop and a walk you will be required to have a form of transport between the two locations however there may be an opportunity to share a lift so please let Heather know before the session if you will need transport.
  • When coming along to all day sessions please bring a packed lunch, suitable footwear for walking and suitable clothing for the weather conditions.
  • Please be aware BNSS is not in a position to provide a qualified first-aider for guided walks and workshops.
  • We will be announcing dates for many more wildlife workshops and walks during the course of the project so please keep an eye on the Bournemouth Natural Sciences Society website.
For more information please contact the Bournemouth Naturally Project Officer – Heather Dixon at Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS), 39 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 3NS or Email: or Mob: 07590909933.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Snakes alive! London’s lizards mapped!

London’s first Amphibian and Reptile Atlas underlines the need for more information on the whereabouts of London’s species and the vital role of the public in helping to secure a future for these threatened species.

The first ‘London Amphibian and Reptile Atlas’ is launched today by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) and gives insight on how these species are distributed across our capital city.

For the first time ever, the whereabouts of London’s amphibians and reptiles can now be made publicly accessible to all.

The atlas is the first comprehensive map-based view of London’s native amphibian and reptile species. It provides information on the preferred habitat of each species found in the capital and exhibits, also for the first time, maps showing suitable habitat within Greater London.

Sophie Hinton, nCLARE Project Officer says:

“It is only once we know where London’s amphibians and reptiles are living that we can then identify thriving or vulnerable areas, including ‘hot spots’, their last remaining strongholds and the key areas to their conservation. With this in mind, the ‘London Amphibian and Reptile Atlas’ provides the first steps towards targeted conservation efforts for the species and ensuring their survival in the capital.

This is just the start. There are still lots of gaps in the information we have managed to collect over the last year. We need a London-wide, long-term effort in wildlife recording in order to produce an atlas which accurately represents the distribution of these species. Even recording a sighting as ‘common’ as the common frog will make a huge difference.”

The atlas is the result of the CLARE (Connecting London’s Amphibian and Reptile Environments) Project run by ARC in collaboration with London Wildlife Trust, GiGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London), London Amphibian and Reptile Group (LARG) and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Atlas is hosted online by GiGL, London’s Environmental Record Centre. It will be updated on an annual basis as new records are anticipated to come in throughout the year.

Threats to amphibians and reptiles

Amphibian and reptile populations in Britain have declined significantly during the last century due to the direct loss of habitat. With their limited ability to move long distances, London’s fragmented urban environment makes it even more difficult for these animals to move between any remaining areas of suitable habitat. As a result, many London populations are threatened and thought to be in decline.
There is a huge lack of available information on the whereabouts of amphibians and reptiles across Greater London and so opportunities to safeguard them are often missed, simply through not knowing the animals are there or how best to manage their remaining habitat.

More information is needed – the public can help

There are still numerous sites and areas within Greater London for which we have either no information or very out of date information on where amphibians and reptiles are living. Without this information, amphibians and reptiles will continue to face the same threats in the capital. 

Contribute your amphibian and reptile sightings to London’s Amphibian and Reptile Atlas and help conserve the frogs, toads, newts, lizards and snakes that all call the capital their home.

Fill in the record form by following the link to the CLARE Record form at or via the ‘Submit records’ tab on

Visit London’s Amphibian and Reptile Atlas and see if your area has any amphibians and reptiles recorded in it. Can you help fill in the gaps?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Conservation Help for Wales’s Real Dragons!

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) announce the start of a new ground breaking project dedicated to the conservation of Welsh dragons (amphibians and reptiles) and the habitats they depend on, funded by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).

The project, entitled Community Engagement in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation across Wales, aims to encourage a sense of ownership and responsibility for welsh biodiversity and provide opportunities for people to engage with amphibians and reptiles as part of the shared natural heritage in Wales.

There are five native species of reptiles and six native species of amphibians in Wales. These include the rare sand lizard, which was declared extinct in Wales, but a successful reintroduction program has brought them back to their homeland.

The Project will involve:
  • Promoting the recording of amphibian and reptile sightings by the public in their gardens and whilst outdoors.
  • Supporting the current network of Amphibian and Reptile Groups in Wales. If you would like to get outdoors and assist the conservation of these species please contact your local group: If there is no group in your area please contact Mark:
  • Providing training for individuals, community groups and conservation professionals.
  • Running a symposium on amphibians and reptiles in Wales to promote an exchange of ideas and knowledge about the conservation work being carried out across the country.
  • Further developing links, planning and development structures to enhance and safeguard amphibian and reptile populations.
Contacts for further information:

Mark Barber or John Wilkinson, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, (Wales Project Officer) or (for more info on ARC and images). You can also visit our website

Contact Mark for details if your company would like to sponsor Welsh species conservation work!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Three Peaks Challenge

Some friends from South and West Wales Amphibian and Reptile Group (SWWARG) are doing the Three Peaks Challenge on 4th/5th May in aid of the Make A Wish Foundation UK.

The team will be aiming to walk to the peak of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Snowdon within 24hours. They will be starting at the foot of Ben Nevis at 5pm on the 4th May and are hoping to be back down Snowdon for 5pm on the 5th. Along with the 26 miles walk they will also be driving approx 550 miles between each peak!

All this is in aid of the Make A Wish Foundation UK: a charity with a single purpose – "we grant magical wishes to children and young people aged 3-17 fighting life-threatening conditions". 

You can make a donation on the team's JustGiving page or donate via text message by texting:70070 with the message: QQLW96 £(AMOUNT YOU'D LIKE TO DONATE) e.g. QQLW96 £5. Please give as much as you can to this fantastic cause!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Natterjacks calling!

You can help with our fantastic new project 'Promoting Cumbria's Natterjack Heritage' by taking part in our nationwide survey to try and find possible new colonies of natterjack toad!

Natterjack toads are the UK's noisiest amphibian and during April, May and June males gather round the edges of breeding ponds after dark and call to females. We would like to hear from you if you hear them! Log on to for further information on how to submit your records and to hear natterjacks calling and help us conserve this wonderful amphibian now.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Great Easter Newt Hunt 2012

So spring is finally with us with a splash! Amphibians are breeding now over most of the country and it’s nearly time again for the Great Easter Newt Hunt! The aims of the survey are to get garden pond owners looking for and recording the biodiversity in their ponds – particularly the widespread but much-ignored smooth and palmate newts. These two species have the LEAST protection of any of our native herpetofauna and many people don’t even know they have them as the focus is usually on more enigmatic species or the more obvious frogs and toads. “Newt Hunters” are asked to visit their pond for two short visits (one in the day and one at night) and record their newts on the website. More details and newt hunting tips; as well as the results of last year’s survey can also be found on the Great Easter Newt Hunt Website.

This year’s Great Easter Newt Hunt takes place between Friday 6th April and Sunday 15th April. Results can be submitted until the end of April.

The Great Easter Newt Hunt survey is brought to you by a partnership between Amphibian & Reptile Conservation and ARG-UK

Monday, 20 February 2012

Venom Day 2012

Due to the success of Venom Day 2010 the British Herpetological Society and the Bangor University Herpetological Society will be hosting Venom Day 2012 at Bangor University on the 10th March this year.

The final schedule is:
09:45am - Registration and refreshments
10:30am - David Warrell - Envenoming worldwide: What’s new?
11:30am - Axel Barlow - Phylogenetics of advanced snakes: relevance for studies of venom evolution.
12:00pm - Nick Casewell - An introduction to venoms and antivenoms.
12:50pm - Lunch Break
02:05pm - Beckie Nicholas - Using multiple loci to infer species limits of southern African dwarf adders.
02:25pm - Steve Trim - Providing solutions for venom research.
03:15pm - Wolfgang W├╝ster - Easy come, easy go: the origin and evolutionary dynamics of venom in reptiles.
04:05pm - Refreshments
04:20pm - Rachel Currier - Unusual presence of messenger RNA in snake venom reveals expression dynamics of venom replenishment following depletion.
04:50pm - Kev Palmer - Habitat management as a tool to support and enhance adder populations.
05:20pm - Michel Dugon - The evolutionary origin of the centipede venom apparatus: A hypothesis.
05.50pm - Freek Vonk - Massive evolutionary expansion of venom genes in the King cobra genome.
06.20pm - Finish

Location is room A12, Brambell building, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK. Although a full lunch will not be provided, light snacks will be available.

Everyone is welcome and the price is £5 for members of both the Bangor University Herpetological Society and the British Herpetological Society and £10 for non-members.

Booking is essential by 3rd March however the fee is payable on the door and a valid membership card must be displayed for the reduced rate. To book and for information regarding a limited availability evening meal after the talks please contact

Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting 2012 - the write up!

The hugely successful Herpetofauna Workers Meeting 2012 was held at the Telford International Centre, Shropshire on Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th January with Nick Baker Naturalist & Broadcaster as Keynote Speaker. To see the full write up with photos and videos from the HWM '12 CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

ARC Professional Training Courses 2012

Amphibian & Reptile Conservation are running several amphibian and reptile training courses during 2012. These courses will cover conservation, surveys, licensing, mitigation, habitat management and much more.

Natterjack Toad, Great Crested Newt & Reptile Courses 2012

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, in partnership with the Field Studies Council are running a series of training courses for professionals;

Great crested newts and licensing for surveys
- 28th March
Reptile surveys - 29th March
Widespread reptiles and mitigation - 3rd-5th April
Mark recapture techniques - 16th-18th April
Working with natterjack: understanding their ecology, surveys and licensing - 25th April
Reptile surveys - 9th May
Great crested newts, licensing and mitigation - 27th-29th November

See the course programme for a booking form and more details about each course.

Amphibian and Reptile Training with Jim Foster - courses run in partnership with ARC

This spring/summer experienced conservation professional Jim Foster, in partnership with ARC, will be running several introductory amphibian and reptile training courses;

Great crested newt survey training for professional ecologists
- 2nd-3rd May
Habitat management for reptiles - 7th June
Habitat management for reptiles - 3rd July
An introduction to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles - 10th July

See the course programme for a booking form and more details about each course.

Visit ARC's regularly updated training page for details about training courses being run by ARC and partners in 2012.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Town Common Public Consultation - Have your say!

After years of hard work by many different organisations there is now a Draft Plan for the on-going management of this important wildlife site. The plan has been produced, with the help of facilitators, by a Steering Group consisting of wildlife organisations as well as groups representing the local community. From ARCs perspective we hope the plan will allow us to continue to conserve the important wildlife and habitats found on Town Common, and to fulfil our obligations as managers of SSSI heathland. The views of local residents, put forward by the groups representing them, have and will continue to be taken into account. We hope this will prevent the misunderstanding that has accompanied previous conservation actions on the site. Follow the link below where you can read either the full or summary Management Plan. It is important to the Steering Group that we can gauge the public response to the proposed plan so please let us know your thoughts by taking the time to fill in the Public Consultation Response Form.

Gary Powell
Senior Reserves Manager

Visit ARC's Site Management Bulletin Board for up-to-date information about work taking place on this site.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Common Toads and Roads on the One Show!

On Wednesday evening (1st Feb) the One Show had a short feature about Common Toads and road crossings. It showed local ARG UK volunteers helping migrating toads to cross a road near Bath to reach their breeding site, a nearby lake. Go to the BBC iPlayer to watch the clip.

Common toads sometimes cross roads as they migrate to breeding ponds in the spring. Toads migrate en masse with waves of animals travelling from their hibernation grounds of woodlands and rough grassland to ponds, ditches and reservoirs to breed. This can be particularly problematic on new roads that have been built through migration routes; some roads have thousands of animals crossing and, inevitably, traffic can lead to the deaths of hundreds of common toads in a matter of nights.

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation is working with planners and highways engineers to ensure that requirement for amphibians feature early in the planning process for new roads.
See our Common Toads and Roads leaflet for more detailed information.

Visit the ARC website for answers to FAQs about frogs and toads.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Get fit in 2012 and help our amphibian and reptiles at the same time!

A huge part of our volunteer work focuses on the management of our reserves, many of which are heathland habitat. Volunteers can get involved with the conservation and restoration of this special and endangered habitat on ten of the 45 sites in Dorset and on several site in the Weald. The regular practical tasks vary from week to week depending on the needs of a particular site, but the majority of the work is the removal of scrub and keeping the habitat in good condition, usually accompanied by a warming fire and lots of tea and biscuits - great on a cold winter's day!

Below are details of our upcoming workdays in Dorset and Weald, so come along and get involved! These dates maychange so please check here before turning up!

Dorset Volunteer Tasks

11th Jan 2012 - Ramsdown - Meet at Cottage Access off Avon Causeway, Grid SZ 133 974

18th Jan 2012 - Parley Common - Meet at Lone Pine Drive, Grid SZ 095 008

21st Jan 2012 - Town Common - Meet at Avon Causeway pub, Grid SZ 137 968

25th Jan 2012 - Lions Hill - Meet at Field Gate on Lions Hill Lane, Grid SY 105 039

7th Jan 2012 - Ferndown Common - Meet at Wimborne Road Car Park, Grid SU 065 006

15th Feb 2012 - St Catherine’s Hill - Meet at Gun Club Entrance St Catherine’s Hill lane, Grid SZ 147 951

25th Feb 2012 - Parley Common - Meet at Lone Pine Drive, Grid SZ 095 008

29th Feb 2012 - Dunyeats - Meet at Gravel Hill Rd in layby north of Dunyeats roundabout, Grid SZ 015 964

6th Mar 2012 - Ferndown Common - Meet by ponds on Pompeys Lane, Grid SZ 064 997

17th Mar 2012 - Noon Hill - Meet at the end of Noon Hill Road, Grid SU 099 088

22nd Mar 2012 - Ramsdown - Meet at Cottage Access off Avon Causeway, Grid SZ 133 974

29th Mar 2012 - St. Catherine’s Hill - Meet at Gun Club Entrance St Catherine’s Hill lane, Grid SZ 147 951

If you would like to join in with a task in Dorst or get more details and directions to the sites please contact: Richard Sharp on 01202 727983/ 07810 770565 or All tools, equipment and biscuits are provided. Wear suitable clothing and footwear and bring your own lunch. Tasks usually run from 10am until 3pm.

Weald Volunteer Tasks

8th Jan 2012 - Broxhead - Meet at lay-by on left third mile south of Broxhead/Linford Rd B3004, Grid 804377

22nd Jan 2012 - Kintail - Meet at DZ Public Car Park Truxford Lane, Grid 894012

5th Feb 2012
- Hankley Comez - Meet at DZ Public Car Park Truxford Lane, Grid 894012

19th Feb 2012
- Crooksbury - Meet at Forestry Gate, end Turners Lane opposite Donkey PH Elstead/Farnham Road, Grid 890451

4th March 2012 - Gong Hill - Meet at lay-by opposite site on Old Frensham Road, Grid 853437

If you would like to join in with a task in Dorst or get more details and directions to the sites please contact: Jon Webster prior to attending on 01903 245125 (mobile 07973 212474) or Rob Free on 01483 304016 (mobile 07810 184503). Please ensure you bring a packed lunch and warm/waterproof clothing. Tasks usually start at 10:00am.

For more information on volunteering with ARC and other ways you can help us visit our volunteers page.

Get ready for the Big Spawn Count 2012!

ARC has joined forces with Pond Conservation and Amphibian & Reptile Groups of UK (ARGUK) to launch the Big Spawn Count 2012! We hope to gain valuable information about the breeding success of Common Frogs and Toads by gathering data about frog and toad spawn counts in gardens ponds across the UK.

So if you see clumps of frog spawn or strings of toad spawn in your garden pond let us know via this online form.

For more information on the project and how to identify and count spawn visit the Big Spawn Count 2012 website.