Friday, 31 August 2012

Full Survey Results (with photos)

Full Survey Results From New Reptile Site - 31.08.2012

Had loads to do at home, but the reptiles always come first and as the sun was shining I had to get back out there to complete a full survey of the new site.
I was accompanied by my nephew and good mate Paul Skelton who logged every single find for me while I tried my best to grab a photo. Thanks mate!

At times it sounded something like this....

"Adder" - "Big Un" - "Female" - "click, click" - "And Another" - "Male" - "Monster" - "click click"

If anyone was walking up the nearby path I expect they were dialling 999!

So, without boring you will any more silliness, here are the pics from today. PS: I will have to film my surveying one day, just to give you a giggle, but to also show how it's done.

Total Findings Below

Male Adder - 4
Female Adder - 6
Jevenile Adder - 2
Grass Snake - 2
Slow-worm - 3
Common Lizard - 27

Click on all photographs for larger view

Firstly, here is a photograph of what we had to contend with. Surveying in areas like this can be extremely hard due to the long grass, which makes finding reptiles even harder.
All photographs are straight out of the camera, how I saw them and how they are meant to be seen.

Survey Area


Here are a couple of slow-worms. I could have easily moved them for a better photograph, but I never do this as I like to walk away knowing they have not been disturbed. The same goes for the snakes.
As mentioned earlier, these photographs are for illustration and record purposes only, I was not there to get an award winning shot.




Tell tale signs were around and this sloughed adder skin was a sure sign that an adder was not far away.

Sloughed Female Adder Skin

This male adder was basking at the bottom of a small grassy bank. Quite a large male, but not the biggest of the day.

Male Adder

You may have noticed in the previous photograph that there was a hole in the grass to the side of the male adder. If you did, well done as this is where he will bolt down if a possible threat appears. Among other predators, buzzards take adders, so this is a quick escape route for him.

Bolt Hole with Male Adder
This fella was humongous, easily the largest male adder I have seen in a long time, if not the largest ever. Hard to get a true scale of how big he actually was, but believe me, he was big!

Large Male Adder

I have already mentioned how hard it can be surveying in long grass and this illustrates it perfectly.
Now click on the photograph and look to the bottom of the frame. You will notice a male adder in the grass and I was kneeling not far from him when I took this shot, totally missed him and only realised he was there when I uploaded my pics to the PC!
So focused on the one I could see, I forgot to check for others. School boy error!

Male and Female Adders

Here is another female coiled up like a turban.

Female Adder

This is a female adder preparing to slough (shed her skin). You will notice that her eye has turned blue and this is where fluid is building up between the new inner and old outer skin layers. The fluid helps the skin peel off.
A snakes eye is covered by a scale and as this is part of the skin, it also comes away. As the old eye scale lifts it severely impairs the snakes vision.

Adder preparing to slough

This is something a little different; a young female adder basking in, or rather on a gorse bush. Over the millennia snakes have come to realise that habitat like gorse and bramble is one of the safest places to live and bask as not many predators can get to them.

Young Female Adder 

Slightly different angle and zoomed in to show how she is perched on the gorse and bramble.

Close Up of same adder


Too many lizards to photograph, but here are just a few. The lizard is a main part of the adder and grass snakes diet, so no wonder there are loads of snakes around as we counted 27 lizards in total, with loads missed as you never see them all.

Common Lizard
If you look to the right of this shot you will notice a cylindrical stripy body. This is the body of a large grass hopper and it looks like this lizard has it's eye on it!
This site is so well balanced and it shows just how the decline in one species (like the grass hopper) could have serious consequences right up, and down the food chain!
No grass hoppers means less lizards and less lizards means less snakes - Oops!

Common Lizard and Grass Hopper

Common Lizard

Common Lizard


Last but by no means least, the grass snake. We recorded two on this visit; one didn't hang around, but we saw this one in plenty of time.

Grass snake basking

I managed to get a little closer and with the zoom this is her, basking in the grass. They are hard to find and even harder to photograph, so I am pleased with this result.

Same grass snake, up close

What a day and well worth the effort. If you would like to get involved and help manage habitats like this, survey, or just record while someone else surveys, please do get in touch.

GlosARG is Gloucestershire's very own Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Group and we are here to help you get involved. Young or mature, we welcome all.

Visit us at the following links or just email me direct.


Rob :-)

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