Birmingham and Black Country Amphibian and Reptile Group (BBCARG)
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About Us

Hi there!


Welcome to the Birmingham and Black Country Amphibian and Reptile Group page, we are a volunteer-led group actively involved in the conservation of our native species of amphibian and reptile and their habitats.


We aim to:

  • Establish and monitor the distribution and status of amphibians and reptiles in the area

  • Actively conserve reptiles, amphibians and their habitats through practical work

  • Foster peoples' interest in amphibians and reptiles and their conservation

  • Develop the skills of those interested in these species


We are always more than happy to hear from people, and if you are interested in finding out more or getting involved - please do not hesitate to get in touch!


Current Committee:

Chair - Amber Hopgood

Secretary - Katy Perry

Treasurer - Hannah Lewis

Records Officer - Charlene Jones

Website and Social Media Officer - Amber Hopgood

Training and Events Officer - Paul Wilkinson

Newsletter Editor - Tasha Cain

Black Country Project Officer - Piotr Koryl

Birmingham Project Officer - Charlene Jones

Records Assistant/Committee member - Shannon McCallion





Posted on Thursday 7th March, 2019

After our 'Evening of Herpetology' event, we held our Annual General Meeting (AGM).

During this we reviewed our year, what progress we had made, the successes we had achieved, and we also discussed what we have planned for the upcoming year. 


We also elected our new committee, which is as follows:

Chair - Amber Hopgood

Secretary - Katy Perry

Treasurer - Hannah Lewis

Records Officer - Charlene Jones

Website and Social Media Officer - Amber Hopgood

Training and Events Officer - Paul Wilkinson

Newsletter Editor - Tasha Cain

Black Country Project Officer - Piotr Koryl

Birmingham Project Officer - Charlene Jones

Records Assistant/Committee member - Shannon McCallion

Evening of Herpetology

Posted on Wednesday 6th March, 2019

Our Valentine's day 'frogs, sex and rock 'n' roll' Evening of Herpetology event was a huge success! In case you missed it... we had a series of three talks by local ARG members on a variety of herpetology topics!

IMG 5940

First of all we had Ben Wood from the Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (WART) talking about the work the group is currently doing using amphibian drain ladders designed by Trevor Rose.

In and around Warwickshire (and most other urban areas) there is a large problem with amphibians getting trapped in roadside drains and not being able to make their way out again without help. As a result WART has been liaising with local councils, transport agencies and water companies to try and help these animals as best as practically possible and provide drain ladders.

These ladders act as a relatively simple way of ensuring that any amphibians that find themselves in a drain have a chance of escaping, which is particularly important when there is limited volunteer-power and restrictions on how quickly (and widely) people can volunteer their time to check drains. 

The group is now monitoring how effective these drain ladders are, and are looking to expand the area in which they are running this project.

IMG 5942

Second we had Dr Stuart Graham from the Shropshire and Staffordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (SASARG) talk about Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) and their impacts on UK wildlife.

Stuart has done a lot of work investigating INNS, with there being at least 21 non-native species present in the UK, and explained what species are involved and how they are distributed across the country.

He talked about the fact that there are positives and negatives associated with INNS, and although the detrimental effects and risks of disease, hybridisation and even predation are concerning, the presence of Invasive Non-Native Species not only provides us - as Herpetologists - with extensive research and monitoring opportunities, it may also have a positive effect on the adaptive capabilities of our native species. 

That said, the main thing that Stuart highlighted was that we do not yet know enough about the species present in the UK and the effects they may have on our native flora and fauna - and so much more research and monitoring is needed. 

IMG 5945

We ended the evening with a talk from our very own Records Manager - Amber Hopgood - and her work on native reptile micro-habitat preferences. 

For her undergraduate dissertation Amber set out to try and fill the knowledge gap surrounding microhabitat and whether native species (adders Vipera berus, grass snakes Natrix helvetica, common lizards Zootoca vivipara, and slow worms Anguis fragilis) showed any preference for certain microhabitat features. 

Amber talked about the reptile surveys she conducted throughout the field season and detailed the habitat assessment method she designed for her study. She also presented her findings so far and discussed how the different species occupied different microhabitat types - in regards to the habitat structure and the thermal properties of the area. 

She highlighted that this is an under-researched but important area of species conservation and hopes to inform future habitat management with her findings.

We would like to extend a massive 'thank you!' to our speakers and to everyone that came along and supported the group for this event, hopefully we will see you all again at one of our next events! 




Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

An Evening Of Herpetology

Thu 14th February, 2019

Join us for a series of short herpetology talks followed by our Annual General Meeting, see the flyer below for more details.


The talks are as follows:

Ben Wood - Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (WART)

The widespread problem of amphibian mortality on roads is well-known, but the impacts of road drainage schemes on populations can only be guessed at. Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team have been rescuing amphibians by hand from sites in Warwickshire and Solihull where large numbers of frogs, toads and newts were found trapped in gully pots after falling into road drains. In 2015 and 2016 WART trialled synthetic mesh ladders, which appeared to have some success in allowing amphibians to escape from the gully pots. More recently they installed some of the more robust aluminium and mesh ladders supplied by the British Herpetological Society which have proven to be successful elsewhere in the UK. Ben will talk about some of the challenges the group have encountered when accessing the drains and installing the ladders and their observations so far. Amphibian escape ladders are being used here as a last resort. Ultimately we will need to change the way we design road drainage schemes to prevent this problem from contributing to the decline of amphibian species not just in the UK but elsewhere in the world.


Dr Stuart Graham - Shropshire and Staffordshire ARG

Does the presence of all Invasive Non-Native Species have significant adverse impacts on native amphibian and reptile biodiversity? Over twenty-one invasive amphibian and reptile species have been recorded as being present in many locations across the UK, although more may be present, not having been detected. This paper provides a definition of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) along with a discussion on potential pros and cons of individual species presence. Future trends and threats, with case examples of current scientific research and eradication programmes undertaken, are also presented.


Amber Hopgood - Birmingham and Black Country ARG

Reptile micro-habitat preference is a largely understudied area of conservation science, particularly for UK native species. As such, Amber dedicated her undergraduate dissertation to the topic, and spent the entirety of the 2018 season investigating this in relation to vegetation structure and temperature for four native species - adders (Vipera berus), common lizards (Zootoca vivipara), grass snakes (Natrix helvetica) and slow worms (Anguis fragilis) at a site in south Staffordshire, and is pleased to share some of her results.


Grass Snake Habitat Management

Sat 9th March, 2019



Join us for a morning of habitat management for grass snakes! Please note that this event is only open for paid members to attend. If you are a member and would like to come, please email us at Tools will be provided, 


Location: Baggeridge Country Park, Gospel End, Sedgley, South Staffordshire, DY3 4HB.

Date and Time: 9th March from 10am till 12pm noon.

Details: Tools provided and car parking available. Please wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear, bring work gloves if you have them. 



As a member you will:

  • Receive updates on our work via social media and email

  • Receive our newsletter

  • Receive details of all our courses and events, which you can access for free

  • Help to conserve and monitor our local reptiles and amphibians

  • Learn about all of our local reptile and amphibian species

  • You will also be entitled to a reduced registration fee at the national ARG UK amphibian and reptile conference


Membership only costs £4 a year, and you can become a member by completing the attached form and returning it to The membership cost should be paid by bank transfer to the account specified on the form.


You can find the membership form here: docxBBCARG_Volunteer_Membership_form_2019_word.docx



Unsure what species of amphibian or reptile you have seen?

Have a look at these handy guides to help you identify the animal you have seen - you can also get in touch with any queries.

Amphibian ID Guide

Reptile ID Guide


More information on reptiles and amphibians

Frogs, toads and spawn  




Non-native species 

Reptile and amphibian habitats 


Found a sick, injured or dead reptile or amphibian?

Have a look at these handy guides to help you identify what you have seen - you can also get in touch with any queries. Any and all animals should be reported to Garden Wildlife Health.

Amphibian disease (Chytrid and Ranavirus)

Reptile disease (Snake Fungal Disease)

Amphibian disease precautions


You can also find advice on the following topics:

Gardens and ponds

Snakes in gardens 

Contact us

Contact Us

For further information on the work of BBCARG contact us by email or find us on one of our social media platforms.


We would like to encourage everyone who has an interest in reptiles and amphibians to join us, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively you can get in touch via email if you have any queries.




Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.

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