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Spring is on the way!. Spring Ecology Surveys

Spring is on the way!

Preliminary Eco Surveys, Reptile Surveys

Spring is on the way!

Background

As we draw closer to the end of February and start getting into March spring will have finally sprung. Look around, there is new growth everywhere, grass is starting to grow, trees are beginning to bud and birds are thinking of nesting. But it is also a great time to start thinking about common reptiles and their awaking from their winter slumber.

As the temperatures start to rise to around 9oC upwards most of our native reptiles start to emerge and move around in the landscape once again. They have one thing on their minds to begin with – mating until around May (herpetofauna, 2017).

Slow worm Anguis fragilis for instance have between three to 26 young each year with an average of eight. The young are born in an egg which is soon shed. When newly born the young are between 70 to 100mm in length (herpetofauna, 2017).

Their preferred habitat is a mosaic of rough grassland, scrub, woodland edge and rough ground with basking spots e.g. bareground (Wildlife Trust, 2017). This is true of many of our native reptiles and there is usually a good water source nearby. This can also mean that grass snakes Natrix natrix might be present.

The issues

When planning your project it is worth considering common reptiles as although not protected like bats or great crested newt, they are protected from killing and injury. Therefore by clearing or breaking ground that has not been checked for them you could accidentally be breaking the law by killing reptiles hidden in scrub or long grass.

The Solution

The first thing that’s needed is to check the site for the potential presence of common reptiles. This is done by checking the site over for the habitats that are required by common reptiles. Once established that this is suitable a full survey is generally required. This involves placing out ‘tins’ which are a half metre by half metre bitumen felt, corrugated tin or carpet square. Reptiles will then utilize these to bask or hide under making it possible to find common reptiles in an otherwise difficult habitat to search.

Been asked for a reptile survey? Get your free quote here.

References

Herpetofauna, (2017), Slow Worm, Online at http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/slow_worm.htm, accessed 03/01/2017

Wildlife Trust, (2017), Slow Worm, Online at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/slow-worm, accessed on 03/01/2017