Fylde Amphibian & Reptile Group

About us

About Us

FARG was first set up in 2011. We seek to promote reptile and amphibian conservation throughout the Fylde and aim to improve the knowledge of the distribution of our native Herpetofauna, educate the public and increase the awareness of the challenges faced by this group of animals.

FARG is committed to achieving these aims through surveys and undertaking practical conservation projects, working closely with the North Blackpool Pond Trail (NBPT) and Blackpool Environmental Team's (BEAT) Naturewatch group as well as our neighbouring ARGs.

We observe, record and enjoy the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Fylde area of western Lancashire, from Preston northwards to Glasson Dock just south of Lancaster, westwards towards Pilling and along the coast to Fleetwood, Blackpool, Lytham St Anne's and Freckleton.

The area is notable for its large number of farm ponds, Lancashire's largest natural lake, Marton Mere, two of Lancashire's main rivers as well as remnant coastal dune systems and a small area of original mossland.
If you would like to join the group and participate in activities then please get in touch via the Contact Us page.

We need your help to record the Fylde's amphibians and reptiles, for example from your garden pond or local area. Did you know we have more records of the rare and endangered Great Crested Newt than we do of Frogs and Toads - go to the Contact Us page for details.

News

News

FARG member contributes to vital conservation work

Posted on Sunday 12th June, 2011
FARG member Ray has been involved with the captive breeding of endangered Sand Lizards for some time. He has recently built a vivarium in his garden and is waiting for 'his' first clutch of eggs. The young he breeds will be released at re-introduction scheme sites in north and west Wales and just to the south of us along the Sefton dune system.
Find out more here  http://fyldearg.blogspot.com/2011/06/conservation-in-actio.html

Common Lizards in the dunes

Posted on Tuesday 7th June, 2011
Today a few members of Fylde ARG joined a guided walk to look for the Common, or Viviparous, Lizards at Lytham St Anne's Nature Reserve.
A bright, sunny morning meant the lizards were already quite warm and alert.

Strange record worthy of further investigation

Posted on Tuesday 7th June, 2011

Strange record worthy of further investigation

An interesting and slightly bizarre sighting was received by FARG this morning of a chance encounter of a ???.
A worker was caught short out in the wilds of Fylde and had to ‘disappear’ behind a bush for two minutes. On his return he regaled a tale of a ‘dark snake-like animal’ about 15 inches (40cm) long and as thick as his finger to his supervisor.
We would guess that he didn’t think/believe it was a snake as they are unheard of round these parts by the general public.
So what was it? The contenders are:-
·        A Grass Snake – there have been records in this area but not for 30 years or so
·        An Adder – unknown in this area
·        A Slow Worm – too big, but perhaps our observer was exaggerating or mistaken
·        An Eel – maybe, the area it was seen is close to a wetland site and it could have been travelling from one water body to another even though it was daytime and there hadn’t been any significant rain for almost 24 hours.
·        Something escaped/released from captivity
What to do next? In an attempt to verify the record the site managers have laid some refugia around the area of the sighting, with a bit of luck the creature in question will give itself up for identification – fingers crossed it is what we hope it is.

FARG at the launch of the North Blackpool Pond Trail

Posted on Tuesday 7th June, 2011
FARG was invited to the launch of the North Blackpool Pond Trail. Not surprisingly the ponds are home to a large number of amphibians. member Alan brought his touch tray of animals which included a Frog and Toad as well as several smooth newts. Tadpoles a plenty were joined by 3-spined Sticklebacks and a variety of inverts such as a dragonfly nymph (Brown Hawker?) on the point of thinking about emerging to metomorphose in to an sdlult, a huge Great Diving Beetle. A supporting cast of backswimming Water boatmen, Caddis fly larvae and Ramshorn snails...a great selection of the local aquatic wildlife and very popular with all the visitors during the day.

Are there still any Grass Snakes in the Fylde?

Posted on Tuesday 7th June, 2011
With the weather warming up and spring definitely on its way our Grass Snakes, if we still have any on the Fylde, will be coming out of hibernation.
A report reached FARG today of a Grass Snake being seen ‘a couple of summers ago’ near Fleetwood. This sighting, along with other recent-ish reports from theBlackpool area, suggests there may be very small populations hanging on along the Fylde coast in isolated pockets.
The National Biodiversity Network map only alludes to old records, from before 1956, in the Over Wyre area but no specific locations are given; Winmarleigh Moss might be worthy of investigation.
However, several people remember them being in the area that is now Heron’s Reach golf course on the eastern fringe of Blackpool from the 1960s perhaps into the early 70s too. The habitat now, although quite different to what was present before the golf course was built, looks quite good for them with a variety of sized ponds and lakes with a good population of small fish and plenty of amphibians. Are there any left in that area?
Female Grass Snakes lay 20 - 40 leathery matt-white eggs in June and July often in compost and manure heaps as the warmth acts as a natural incubator. The eggs measure 23-30mm long (about an inch). Pencil-thin hatchlings emerge in late summer and autumn. We ask gardeners with compost heaps, particularly those gardens with water features in them or nearby, to be on the look out for us.
Grass Snakes can be up to three feet long although most are much smaller than this. Look for the distinctive contrasting yellow and black collar just behind the head (the yellow maybe missing in older females but the black is always present). The rest of the animal’s upper-parts are a dark olive green, underneath they are paler with irregular narrow black stripes.
They are completely harmless to people and play dead or emit a horrible smell rather than biting.
Grass Snakes were once far more common than they are today and in 2007 they were included on the updated UK Biodiversity Action Plan as a species in need of conservation and greater protection.
FARG would welcome any information about Grass Snakes in the Fylde from the last 30 years.
Records of other reptiles, namely Slow Worms and Common Lizards from 1970 onwards would also be welcomed. So ask your older friends and neighbours if they have any recollections of reptiles in the Fylde and let us know.

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Contact us

Contact Us

Contact Flyde ARG via their blog
http://fyldearg.blogspot.com

FARG supports the Lancashire Amphibian and Reptile Atlas - LARA
To record your sightings of amphibians and reptiles in the Fylde please go to our sister organisation's on-line recording site http://www.argsl.org.uk/index.php?option=com_rsform&Itemid=16

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