Protected Species | Reptiles

There are three native species of snake (grass snake, smooth snake and adder) and three native species of lizard (common or viviparous lizard, slow worm and sand lizard) in the UK.

Smooth snakes and sand lizards are both rare European Protected Species with limited distributions. The other four species are widespread and relatively common. They receive some legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in that they are protected from being killed, injured or sold.

Peak Ecology carry out reptile surveys and mitigation on a regular basis, from small-scale surveys on urban brownfield sites to large-scale assessments of habitat use on major projects. This is ‘day to day’ work for us and we have the benefit of abundant experience.

Reptile surveys are seasonally constrained and best carried out in the spring (usually March to June) or autumn (usually (September and October). Ordinarily, they involve an initial site visit to scope the site and carry out an assessment of habitat potential. Then, artificial refugia made from 500mm squares of mineralised roofing felt or corrugated sheet metal are laid out in areas of high potential. Once these have been left for (at least) 2 or 3 weeks to ‘bed in’, they are checked (at least) six times over a period of weeks, weather permitting.

Reptiles can be found basking on top of the refugia or sheltering beneath them. If reptiles are found to be present, then some kind of mitigation plan is usually drawn up which involves moving the animals out of the way of bulldozers or other construction activities.

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