Herps are amazing!
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Hi, I’m Warden Jamie and whilst I love anything to do with wildlife, I do have a particular soft spot for some of our often overlooked British animals, the amphibians and reptiles, otherwise known as herps!
This weekend I travelled up on a windy night to Stoke for the ARG UK and ARC 30th Herpetofauna Workers’ Meeting to learn about all things scaly and semi permeable skin-ly. The day was packed with talks from optimal newt torching times, to turtles along the UK shores, capped off with an excellent Gala Dinner featuring a disco set by the herp world’s very own DJ Lizard Wizard! Whitesnake and Culture Club were sadly unavailable.
I tested out my artistic abilities at the “Adders are Amazing” workshop ran by Sam Langdon and Angie Julian from ARG UK, painting an Adder Stone (pictured, don’t judge me too hard!) whilst discussing the plight of one of the UK’s most misunderstood creatures. A recent citizen science study has shown that without intervention, in the next 15-20 years adders face local extinctions across the country, with only a few large population sites remaining. Sadly adders still face persecution, and combined with habitat loss and disturbance, they are really starting to struggle. Some newspapers like to paint adders as mini monsters but in reality they are a very shy animal, preferring to slip away unnoticed rather than confront people on the heaths!
Soon our reptiles will be emerging from hibernation, and our amphibians have even started breeding in ponds! So keep an eye out in your garden and the countryside, and watch this space for more blogs on our herpetofauna in the near future.