CRAG - Cornwall Reptile & Amphibian Group
CRAG aims to increase awareness and action on behalf of Cornwall's reptiles (snakes and lizards) and amphibians (frogs, toads and newts)
Its activities include
The group is open to anyone who would like to be involved with amphibian and reptile conservation in Cornwall.
A small annual subscription of £5.00 is payable by all Members, except students who can currently become a member for £1. New members are welcome to apply to join at any time. Click the Membership tab for full details.
CRAG is affiliated to the Amphibian & Reptile Groups of UK.
Please record all sightings of reptiles and amphibians seen in and around Cornwall - that includes non-natives such as terrapins. The easiest way to do this is to click on the 'Record a sighting' tab above and fill out the form. Although we love watching these animals from a safe distance, sadly not everyone appreciates them so please remember never to share exact locations on social media.
Earlier this year, CRAG invested in a set of nets, trays and other pond dipping equipment for amphibian surveys and educational activities. CRAG members have already used the kit extensively at various events, including regular community pond dips at Treloggan, Newquay, led by Teri Nicholls.
Meanwhile, Mark and Tricia Nicholson have been leading a project at Goonhavern School, which their granddaughter attends, to restore the school’s disappearing pond and bring it back into use. Pond dipping sessions using the CRAG kit have been invaluable in generating staff and pupil enthusiasm, awareness and involvement.
The pond was choked by reeds, smothered by the invasive non-native Crassula weed and half-covered by brambles, leaving hardly any water. Gradual clearance of this vegetation has brought the pond back to life, with each dipping day revealing a greater abundance and diversity of creatures.
Dealing with Crassula will be an ongoing issue, as this species grows on both water and land and is very difficult to control. It can recolonise a pond – or colonise another pond if transferred – from a small leaf fragment. All weed removed from the pond is being composted on-site in black plastic bags. If totally deprived of sunlight, it should die after several months.
To avoid the spread of invasive plants and diseases from one pond to another, the kit is thoroughly checked for plant fragments, cleaned and dried between events and outings.
Dr Steve Green, CRAG Scientific Officer, completed the London Marathon in a time of 4 hrs 38 mins, wearing the costume people voted for on his Giving page - a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle! So far he has raised over £2000 for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, not including additional Gift Aid, and this amount is still going up. There is still time to donate so please do visit his fundraising page. Stephen Green London Marathon 2019. Congratulations Steve! A fantastic achievement.
Volunteers dug out the silted stream and removed fly tipped rubbish, allowing water to flow into the pond to improve habitat quality and preserve this valuable site. The pond is home to a variety of aquatic invertebrates and spawning amphibians such as frogs, toads and newts.
This pond is of significant interest as it provides refuge to our native plants and animals such as water forget-me-not and amphibians. The Doorstep Green is also an invaluable educational and recreational space for local residents to enjoy.
In Britain we are losing many of our ponds due to pressures from urban development, pollution and agricultural drainage. These pressures can lead to reduced habitat quality, fragmentation of habitats and loss of the land entirely.
Thanks again to the volunteers, it was great to see both new and familiar faces, we hope to see you soon on future trips!
Want to get involved? Contact us to find out how you can help the reptiles and amphibians of Cornwall and their habitats.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to the Joint CRAG/CWT outing to Penhale on Sunday 20th May 2018.
The weather was ideal for the visit. Our small group was treated to sights of no less than 22 slow worms, as well as a grass snake and a small toad.
Special thanks to Cornwall Wildlife Trust ranger, Jon Cripps, who was also able to point out some of the rare flora and fauna that make this a very unique location.
The CRAG AGM 2017 took place at Cornwall College, Newquay on Monday 9th October.
Successes over the past year include a well-attended trip to Carn Moor, the setting of tins and monitoring at Tregantle (nr Saltash) and a surge in new members thanks to CRAG's attendance at various events including the Freshers Fair at Cornwall College, Newquay.
Nicola Morris and Steve Green chose to step down from their secretary positions due to pressure from other commitments. Jade Clayson has taken on general secretary duties, while Ruth Corbett will be the new Membership Secretary.
Helen gave us an update on her work with Sand Lizards and their habitat management.
We discussed the situation and requirements of sites we currently monitor and suggested new sites we could take on.
Full minutes available:
For general enquiries please contact:
Chair - Nicola Morris - firstname.lastname@example.org
For question relating to the ecology of amphibians and reptiles in Cornwall please contact our Scientific Officer (see details below).
CRAG is always looking for new volunteers to help with habitat management and species monitoring. If you would like to get involved, please contact our Chair.
Upcoming events will be listed here.