Who are we?
We are a friendly, volunteer led group who have a passion for reptiles and amphibians and a willingness to share this passion, knowledge and experience with others.
We are made up of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and interests, from those with a general interest in the natural world to experienced herpetologists, ecologists and conservationists.
What do we hope to achieve?
Here are some of the group’s key aims and objectives:
How do we achieve this?
Nicky Green is leading a Reptile Survey Training Day for the East Devon District Council on Friday 9th May, between 10am and 4.30pm
Spend a day in the company of Nicky Green, experienced ecologist and Chair of the Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group, learning about reptile ecology and survey methods. Using the Axe Estuary Wetlands near Seaton and nearby heathland sites, we will carry out a survey and hopefully see some reptiles. This day will be suitable for interested adults and those requiring training in this field.
Cost £20. Booking essential as places are limited. Call 01395 517557 or email Countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk
Both great crested newt training courses over the past fortnight ran successfully. The course provided valuable training for surveyors building up experience to gain a survey licence. We hope that our newly trained surveyors can contribute to our knowledge of the distribution of this beautiful and rare species. Funds raised by the course go towards DRAG conservation work and awareness raising activities.
Please go to the Photo Gallery for Alex Sam's excellent photos from the training days (photos will be available shortly).
Unfortunately, DRAG does not have the resources or staff to undertake a great crested newt survey project this year. However, DBRC holds a list of Devon sites with suspected great crested newt records that need confirmation. If you have a great crested newt surveyor licence and want to undertake surveys of such sites, or ponds that you feel may support this species, please contact DBRC to volunteer your help. All information gathered, including surveyed 'vacant sites', can help to build a better picture of the distirbution of this species and help to target conservation efforts.
Thanks again to Steve for leading another successful sand lizard survey and walk for DRAG members. The sun was on our side and all surveyors got excellent views of at least three males in breeding colours, a rotund female and a cryptic coloured yearling less than 5cm in length. There was a male guarding his female for most of the morning, no doubt 'protecting' her from the male just three metres away. The pair seemed very relaxed sunbathing amongst some nettles despite being close to a busy footpath.
Please check out the Gallery for sand lizard photos from our unoffical event photographer Neil Harris. If you want to hear about walks and events, please email us to be added to the DRAG email list on firstname.lastname@example.org.
After an exceptionally long wait for spring to arrive, keen DRAG volunteers Phil and Andrea Clinch, Kim Leaver and the Conservation Officer for Clinton Estates found a good number of reptiles in the East Devon area on Sunday 21st April. 15 slow worms, six common lizards and one adder were found in one survey despite air temperatures at 10 degrees with a cool breeze. After many cancelled and postponed 'spring' amphibian and reptile surveys we are glad that spring has finally arrived!
If you are interested in joining surveys, events or conducting your own survey (eg reptile survey as part of a college research project), please get in touch!
Duration: 2 weeks
Date: Wednesday 9th June 2021 - Wednesday 30th June 2021
Level: Introductory (No previous knowledge required)
Tutor: Dr John Wilkinson
Course Provider: FSC (Field Studies Council) Eco-Skills
Booking Deadline: Monday 7th June (9am)
Begin your journey into the world of amphibians and reptiles with this combined introductory course. This course will enable you to identify the key characteristics, life cycles and conservation status of these two critical species.
This is a 2-week online course covering 2 topics, for which you will complete a variety of online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with an interactive Zoom workshop to complement the content.
Week 1: Introduction to Amphibians
Self-study material available: 09/06/21
Week 1 live webinar: 16/06/2021 at 6:00 pm
Week 2: Introduction to Reptiles
Self-study material available: 16/06/2021
Week 2 live webinar: 23/06/2021 at 6:00 pm
The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 30/06/2021.
Time commitment: This course will require approximately 2-3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC)
Introduction to Reptile Identification and Surveying
Adder Bites - Helpful Links
Dogs and Adders
Snakes in Gardens
Snakes are fascinating creatures and for many, finding one in the garden is a real treat and a memorable experience.
However, for many others this can be a disconcerting and even worrying situation. This can be as a result of misunderstandings often fed by negative and often inaccurate media reports and rumours. Please be assured, though, that there is no reason to worry and that these situations can be resolved fairly easily.
The vast majority of reported snake sightings in gardens turn out to be either a Grass Snake or a Slow worm (a legless lizard which resembles a snake). Both species are harmless and are best left alone.
We only have one venomous snake species, the Adder, which is rarely found in gardens unless your property is situated close to favourable habitat. Even then, the adder is a very shy animal and avoids human activity whenever it can. Again, the best course of action is to leave it alone and allow it to move off when it’s ready. The likelihood is that it is just passing through anyway.
Occasionally, DRAG gets asked about relocating snakes. For all kinds of practical reasons this isn’t something we would do and would actually be the opposite of what our group encourages which is reptile conservation.
The best recommendation we can provide is to learn as much as possible about the reptile you have seen in your garden. We will happily help you identify it and provide related advice such as understanding which features of your garden have likely attracted it in the first place.
It would really help if you could record your sighting on Record Pool either using the Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group (DRAG) website (under the 'Record a sighting' tab) or by visiting https://www.recordpool.org.uk.
Please remember that reptiles are protected under UK law.
Adder Vipera berus
For information on the adder please click on the fact sheet link in blue or you can watch the animated video below.
We've all seen them right, often in large numbers early in the year in even the smallest bodies of water ..... but what are tadpoles?
Tadpoles are the larval stage in the life cycle of an amphibian. In the UK the tadpoles we most often encounter will belong to the Common frog (Rana temporaria) or Common toad (Bufo bufo).
Amphibians go through several stages before reaching their adult form. This incredible process is known as metamorphosis. Below is a video showing in detail how this process takes place.
Why become a member?
Well, big things start in small ways and becoming a member of the Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group (DRAG) is one step you can take towards protecting the reptiles and amphibians in your local area and beyond.
Whether you’re dropping us a line by email, submitting a photo or participating as a volunteer in a reptile or amphibian survey your contribution is valued all the same. Everything we can do to keep the ‘conversation’ going is great for the reptiles and amphibians of Devon.
The more members that join the greater the potential for activity. Put simply, without members we couldn’t do what we do and it would be great to have you join us.
Some of the activities that you will be invited to can include talks by local experts, guided walks, bioblitzes and even species identification and survey skills training.
Opportunities for volunteering could include surveying, habitat management or helping out at nature festivals.
Have a voice in what we do.
We value your feedback and encourage it.
Drop us a line and let us know at email@example.com.
How do I join?
If you would like to become a member please send your request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer: Membership is free to join.
Answer: Currently, membership is on a rolling annual basis.
Answer: No. There are no prerequisites, nor is there any minimum level of commitment required.
Answer: Yes. Whilst volunteering makes a big difference to what we do, we totally understand that not everyone’s circumstances allow for it.
Answer: You can cancel your membership at any time by sending your request to email@example.com.