Hampshire And Isle of Wight Amphibian and Reptile Group (HIWARG)
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About us

About Us

Hampshire is fortunate that the county covers a huge geographic area and a very diverse breadth of habitat including: the Isle of Wight, the New Forest National Park, the South Downs National Park, as well as many other unspoiled areas, including Woolmer Forest.
It is therefore unsurprising that we are host to 12 out of the 13 native amphibians and reptiles in UK, including rarities such as the Natterjack Toad, Sand Lizard and Smooth Snake, and wherever you live in the county there will be opportunities to survey and monitor an assemblage of amphibian and reptile species.

HIWARG is an newly affiliated independent ARG-UK group. The group focus is conservation of native UK species essentially around habitat management, surveying, public engagement, volunteer training & doing as much as possible to understand & protect the native species in the county.
All members are volunteers with a common interest.

If you have some spare time and would like to be involved with HIWARG, maybe you have taken a photo of a reptile or amphibian and would like it identified or maybe you have some other query, then please do get in contact  info@hiwarg.org.uk 




ARG UK Autumn Seminar Series

Posted on Tuesday 15th September, 2020

Visit ARG UK's Eventbrite page to sign up to their free "Autumn Seminar Series" webinars.


Pool Frog Survey 2020

Posted on Monday 31st August, 2020

On Sunday 30th August, HIWARG had its second field trip to help determine the extent of a population of Southern Clade Pool Frogs, Pelophylax lessonae. We are hoping to map the distribution of this species in North Hampshire and will be carrying out ongoing surveys in the general area. Pool Frogs in the UK are split into two "Clades", which effectively means 'natural group'. Pool Frog populations that were present in Norfolk were considered to be non-native, until they were identified as Northern Clade Pool Frogs and most likely native. Northern Clade Pool Frogs are a rare group found mainly in Scandinavia, Estonia and up until the mid 1990s, in Eastern England. Following the extinction of the UK populations, a reintroduction programme began in 2005.

However, the population in Hampshire are known to be Southern Clade Pool Frogs from mainland Europe and are considered non-native and this population were previously known to be carriers of the Chytridiomycosis disease. Our first survey earlier in the summer involved capturing animals to swab for Chytrid and we are following this up with further surveys, moving away from the main breeding ponds. Keep watching the website and our social media platforms for updates of this project.

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68 Years of Herping

Posted on Saturday 22nd August, 2020

We received a kind donation by a member of the group of a few 100 old journals, bulletins & news letters, some dating back to 1952. Along with some lovely historical pieces such as the registration form for Herp Workers Meeting 1997 (some of the wording still identical today 😊 ) and others.

Look at some of the tours available in 1989…. interesting when one sees how little things have changed and virtually the identical headlines are still featuring now some 30-50 years later e.g. Declining Amphibian Populations, Pool Frog populations in UK, Adder declines etc.

One day when we have a “club house” these will make up part of our library.

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Leech Predation of Amphibians

Posted on Saturday 22nd August, 2020

About ten days ago, a toad was discovered in Devon with leeches completely covering both eyes and a few attached to it's limb joints. A photo was posted on ARG UK's Facebook discussion group asking for advice, but nobody had seen anything similar. A few of the forum members started investigating and Steve Allain discovered a similar photo posted on an RSPB forum, which had been taken on the Isle of Wight eight years ago. A natural history note reporting on leeches in Tunisia, showed remarkable similarities with the feeding behaviour. This prompted HIWARG to follow this up with the Non Native Species Secretariat, ARC, ARG UK and Garden Wildlife Health (who investigate wildlife disease etc). Samples were collected of the Devon leech and were sent off for identification, which we are waiting for currently.

As the 2012 sighting was in HIWARG's area, we posted the story on HIWARG and DARN's FB page, along with a couple of other local FB pages in the hope the groups would do their thing and spread the news... We didn't think it would work so quickly, but in less than 24 hours we were tagged in two photos from the Isle of Wight, which showed two frogs covered in leeches. One of the frogs had been caught and kept in captivity and samples of leeches were collected to send off to GWH. Unfortunately, the frog died a couple of days ago so will be sent to GWH for post-mortem.

We don't know if this is an unrecorded behaviour of a native leech or a new non-native species of leech, but hopefully we will get a confirmed identification soon. HIWARG has also teamed up with IoW organisations to identify locations of these leeches. We will update this story as we get further news.

A sad but very intriguing case. #Scienceinaction.

If you find any similar cases, please contact us via our Facebook group if possible as we will be able to respond to this much faster, if you are not a Facebook user, please email us at info@hiwarg.org.uk

HIWARG's Facebook group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/455730808110700/

Photo by C Brown, 2020 Photo by C Hayles


Corona Virus Impact Update

Posted on Tuesday 17th March, 2020

Please be advised that in accordance with the Govt requested virus limiting actions and in the interests of our members, their friends, families and the public in general we are postponing our HIWARG "group" activities until further notice.
This is inline with the decisions taken by a wide range of volunteer reliant organisations, trusts, councils etc. Fortunately many of our activities such as surveys etc. are geared around being individual activities, so I’m sure we will still see posts on the group as some folks may still undertake solo surveys, nature walks etc. and share photo’s & details of these.
Fresh air, sunlight & maintaining activity levels remain healthy activities where & while possible and the outdoors and nature are valuable stress relief measures.

We are wishing everyone the very best through these troubling times and for those who might be infected, we hope you experience a very speedy recovery.

Looking forward to catching up with you all again at the end of the social distancing period.

Stay safe and and healthy.


The HIWARG Panel




Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Members event: Spawn count survey

Sat 23rd February, 2019

Details will be posted on the members calendar. Will confirm whether Sat or Sun.  

Members event: Spawn count survey

Sat 2nd March, 2019

Details will be posted on the members calendar. Will confirm whether Sat or Sun.  

Members habitat management event

Sat 16th March, 2019

Looking for 5-6 energetic members to assist with pulling out or cutting off of a number of pine saplings on a herp sensitive area. Numbers limited due to species sensitivity at this time of the year.
Nearest town – Yateley.
This is a HIWARG members event and further details are visible on the Members Portal calendar.
Membership & Volunteer Workers Agreement completion is a requisite.

Toad tunnels and fencing clean up work party'

Sun 24th March, 2019

Sunday 24 March 10am to 1pm.
We need around 6 volunteers to help remove leaf litter and built up silt from a section of toad tunnels and fencing near Sherfield on Lodden.
This is a HIWARG members event and further details will be visible in the Members Portal calendar.
Membership & Volunteer Workers Agreement completion is a requisite.

Special HIWARG members event: Bramshill Forest visit

Sat 6th April, 2019 - Sat 6th April, 2019

Forestry England have kindly offered to host a visit to their Bramshill Forest site.
We will be visiting 4 of their plantations. This promises to be a spectacular day out with the area rangers who know the sites, the fauna & flora.

Please note this is an event for HIWARG subscribed members as insurance rules apply.

Membership is really easy – just go to https://groups.arguk.org/hiwarg and “Join up”. Subscription is via PayPal and only £6 per year donation toward our conservation efforts.
You will receive a welcome email with your portal access password.

Further details, including RSVP, meeting points and map are included in the events calendar on the Members Portal.

All attendees must bring appropriate footwear for uneven terrain plus wet weather gear and food and refreshments for the day.

All footwear to be cleaned in advance of the visit given the important amphibian assemblage that resides within the forest. 

HIWARG members event - reptile survey training

Sat 20th April, 2019 - Sun 21st April, 2019

See members portal calendar for details. Weather dependent. 

Vanishing Viper Conference 2019

Sat 8th June, 2019 - Sun 9th June, 2019

INTERNATIONAL EVENT : Venomous snakes as flagship species

Thu 10th October, 2019 - Sat 12th October, 2019


 - Could snakes be ambassadors for conservation like panda’s?

- How could you help support their conservation efforts?
- What progress is being made?
- How can we resolve the human- snake conflict?

These and many more topics will be discussed at the next big herp symposium hosted by Edupet and the Herpetofauna foundation. This symposium will be a must for all that enjoy nature and wildlife. We look forward to welcoming you at the Symposium “Venomous snakes as flagship species”

Website : http://herpsymposia.com/  

Burger's Zoo
Antoon van Hooffplein 1,
6816 SH Arnhem,






Habitat Management - Southampton

Sun 20th October, 2019


Time: 14:00-16:00

Green space where a GCN was recently found.
Clearing bindweed and nettles.
Wellies essential as ground is wet in places.
Also bring gloves, loppers and a drink.
Helping a very friendly group.

For more details see: https://www.facebook.com/events/2438332239824569/

Pond liner laying - Basingstoke (Members only event)

Sat 26th October, 2019

Local private land owner who allows HIWARG transect access & involvement is laying a new liner in a pond and HIWARG are keen to help. This should be a very welcome feature for the local herps.
Looking for additional hands to help on the day. Please indicate your interest or availability.
Muddy gear advised.

For more details see calendar on the Member's Portal.

Join up or Log In

Join up or Log In

          Members sign in here

Membership costs just £6.00 per year as a subscription that can be cancelled at any time. 
Your membership will help HIWARG to protect the amphibians & reptile of Hampshire. 
Be aware of and take part in conservation opportunities, surveys and many other activities across the county.


Click here to go directly to PayPal to subscribe as a member:

Donate to HIWARG

Donate to HIWARG

You can help HIWARG achieve its goals by a simple donation towards our activities.
Donations are put towards equipment used for habitat management, surveys and public engagement such as printed material and fact sheets to hand out during educational events.




Info & ID guides

Info & ID guides

Herp Identification - downloadable colour charts

Amphibian Identification - downloadable colour cards 

Newt Eggs & Larvae - downloadable colour cards  

Reptile Identification - downloadable colour cards   

Dogs & Adders - downloadable advice sheet.   

Improving Herp habitat

Creating Garden Ponds - downloadable booklet   

Herp diseases - recognise & report

Snake Fungal Disease  

Toad fly (Lucilia bufonivora)   

Amphibian Chytridiomycosis  

Ranavirus Disease  

Reptile Slough Genebank - collection & submission of found sloughs  



Useful glossary of terms often used within the herpetological field. (Credit due - unknown)      

Kids stuff - Educational items for the young ones

Pond pack                                                         Animal fact sheets                              Animal colouring sheets    
Pond Pack                     Alfie1                             Sammy1

Contact us

Contact Us

If you would like more information about HIWARG or have something to share with us, please get in touch via the link to our social media presence. 


Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.

Latest News

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