Reptiles are suffering global declines and many are threatened with extinction. In the UK, the picture is not quite as bleak – yet – and we want to keep it that way but we know very little about where they live so it is difficult to protect them or to help them spread.
We probably only have four native species of reptiles in Cheshire
Reptiles are particularly vulnerable because they tend to live in small isolated areas and they are unable to spread out because their habitat is divided up by built up areas and farmland.
They now mostly only survive in places like heaths and open woodland because they need places to shelter and hibernate. They also need open areas to bask to warm up before they can become active because they are cold blooded.
What can you do?
Email us your sightings: photos are the most useful plus your location (address or grid reference if possible). Other useful information: species, number, size, behaviour, type of habitat, e.g. garden, grassland, woodland, heather moorland.
Request a survey: if you think you may have seen a reptile or signs of a reptile.
Volunteer: to help survey for reptiles.
Provide a suitable habitat for example in gardens and allotments slow-worms and grass snakes are fascinating visitors.*
*Slow-worms requirement access to sunlight and thick vegetation and can be found in some gardens & allotments. They shelter under logs, stones and other objects and emerge at dusk to search for slugs, worms, spiders and various insects.
*Grass snakes: favour damp areas with long grass, often close to water. Sheltered garden ponds provide a useful hunting ground during spring as individuals recently emerged from hibernation seek out frogs and their tadpoles.
Looking for reptiles
Where: Embankments, logs, rocks, dry stone walls, edge of woodland and grassy areas especially if there are tussocks. Also look under cover items such as stones, wood or ‘rubbish’ items that animals may warm up underneath. Habitat piles e.g. compost heaps, log piles, cut grass.
When: look during a hot spell following several days of cold weather as being cold-blooded they bask to warm up.
For more information on how to get involved in the project, please contact:
Amelia Airey (Conservation Officer): email@example.com
Cheshire Wildlife Trust,
Bickley Hall Farm,
Telephone: 01948 820728