• SWWARG: Help with Adder conservation work and Spring records

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South & West Wales Amphibian & Reptile Group (SWWARG)

With the weather starting to give hints of warming up (hurrah!), our herps are starting to make some appearances around the country. The frogs have been busy since early February over in our Mid Pembrokeshire ponds and the toads have also joined in more recently. With the sunshine we’ve recently been having, the chances of encountering emerging reptiles are also increasing, so keep your eyes peeled and slow yourself down to try to catch some glimpses. If you do spot some herps, please do take the time to note down your location and send in your records for the Wales Online Amphibian and Reptile Atlas. Follow this link: http://arc.cofnod.org.uk/

We would also like to make an urgent appeal for some help! We are trying to discover more about Adder hibernation sites in Pembrokeshire and this starts with us trying to find these sites (so far, very little is known about where our Adders actually overwinter). If you do not live in Pembrokeshire, it is still really important to let us know if you see adders between October and March as we need to protect these sites. The hibernacula can be unwittingly destroyed during habitat management activities.

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Your much valued help could be simply in the form of recording any adders you see in Pembrokeshire during the next month or so (March) and sending us those details, with ideally a grid reference and or photos of the site. We also have some sites in Pembrokeshire where we have early adder sighting from in previous years. If you are interested in helping, please get in touch as perhaps you could help us monitor these sites to see whether adders are present there during March. This really is crucial work for adder conservation and it could be something you could do in no doubt a very scenic location on a lovely sunny day! Please do get in touch if you would like to help us look at these sites.

Lastly and very importantly, it’s so crucial we remember to prioritise not disturbing basking reptiles at this time of year. If you are out looking for reptiles, that’s fantastic, but at this time of year they are particularly vulnerable to disturbance. Male adders are fresh out of hibernation and require all of their resources to produce sperm for breeding over the coming months. So if you are out and find an adder, please step well back and  move away as quickly as possible. Do not handle any reptiles! Such disturbances have been shown to reduce overall breeding success, so the most important thing is to give them plenty of space. For a really good read on this subject, please have a look at the following article. I can’t recommend it enough: http://brettlewisphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/wildlife-photography-costly-impact.html?m=1


Best wishes,

Dr Sam Langdon

SWWARG Secretary

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Submit sightings/records to www.sewbrec.org.uk or arc.cofnod.org.uk

Take part in narrs.org.uk/


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