Argus Ecology

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Reptile surveys

January 18, 2018

Optimum survey season starts in March.

Spring (March - June) surveys are the ideal time to record reptiles, and should be planned for now. 

Survey methods for most species involve the placement of shelters made from roofing felt or corrugated metal within suitable habitats across a site.  These are inspected on at least seven occasions to determine presence or absence.  Careful observation and searching of other features is also necessary.

Although reptiles are more active in warmer weather, they are more easily observed in spring following hibernation, when they need to bask in sunshine to maintain body temperature.  Shelters are also less likely to be used in hot summer weather, when temperatures are above 17 degrees centigrade - animals don't need the extra heat they provide.  Hence in most parts of the country July and August are too hot, and surveys which miss the spring window must wait until September.

Two species of reptiles - smooth snake and sand lizard - are rare and subject to special protection under European law.  The four other species - slow-worm, common lizard, adder and grass snake - are much more widespread, but are still protected against killing or injuring under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and 1994 Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act. Reptile surveys are now being requested by local planning authorities with increasing frequency.

We already have some reptile survey work planned for the spring 2017 season - but at the moment we still have ample capacity, and would be happy to talk through your requirements.

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