Devon Reptile & Amphibian Group (DRAG)
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About Us

DRAG aims to raise awareness and understanding of the conservation of amphibians and reptiles, in Devon and the UK, through reptile and amphibian recording, and habitat management work. DRAG aims to bring together people with an interest in reptiles and amphibians.

If you would like to find out more about reptiles and amphibians in Devon, ask for advice or want to get involved with events and surveys, please get in touch!

If you are interested in becoming a DRAG member, send us your details so we can add you to our mailing list for exciting events and activities that are not always advertised on the website.



DRAG at the Deadly Day Out at River Dart Country Park

Posted on Tuesday 1st November, 2011
We survived eight manic hours of almost non-stop activity at the Deadly Day Out at River Dart Country Park yesterday.  Even Steve Backshall himself would have struggled to keep up with our fast paced animal demonstrations plus reptile and amphibian themed face-painting.  The Deadly Day Out is a roadshow aimed at primary-aged children and their families, a spin-off from the popular BBCtv programme, to get people out and about to learn about exciting wildlife - even if not all are 'deadly'!  DRAG volunteers Nicky Green and I, were joined by Jon Cranfield from ARG UK and Kate O’Neill, Buglife’s Crayfish Conservation Officer.  In ourvibrant 'Nature Zone' tent we showed people our great crested newt and explained the plight of this rare amphibian, along with introducing people to live alien invaders such as American red signal crayfish and an enormous bullfrog tadpole.  Two rescue corn snakes were met by eager young families as we explained that these unfortunate creatures are often abandoned when people get bored of them as pets - they can live 25years.  We managed to pose for a photo with Steve and other staff for a team photo at the end of the day, to be posted later on our gallery.  By the end of the day, we were told 4,000 people attended the event - I think we met most of them!

Many thanks to Jon for making the link with the BBC so DRAG could attend the event and to Kate for her enthusiastic help too.

Unfortunately, we only found out about the event at short notice so did not publicise it.  If you have primary aged children, you may want to check out the webpage below for future events. Please note children come first and beware of long queues!

Mabel Cheung

DRAG Noticeboard May 2011

Posted on Thursday 19th May, 2011
You are now looking at our new shiny new DRAG web-pages!  Thanks to our hosts Amphibian and Reptile Groups (ARG) UK for this free service.  We can add information about DRAG, our contact details, news, events, and photos.  If you want to share any of your stories or photos on the webpages please get in touch at

Any self respecting group would not be complete without a snappy logo, so thanks to Vicky Buller who’s creative lizard design was voted as the best by DRAG members.  Well done and thanks Vicky!

DRAG membership is free!  However, we are looking to charge a small fee/donation for our events to cover the costs of promotional materials, equipment or room hire for events. 

A Membership Secretary is still required though Paul Forshaw has kindly volunteered to be our data base manager.  Please send Paul ( your contact details for our database to ensure you are included when new events are released, not all our events are advertised on the web. 

Volunteers are always welcome to help with surveys and/or any other aspect of running DRAG and events. We want your ideas!

Mabel Cheung

Call for sightings

Posted on Thursday 19th May, 2011
Thank you to everyone who has sent in reptile and amphibian records so far.  They have been added to the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC) database.  Please continue to send in records via the DBRC website

Ellie Knott

Sand Lizards at Dawlish Warren, April 2011

Posted on Thursday 19th May, 2011

Since 1994 the sand lizard (or Lacerta agilis agilis to give it its scientific name) has quietly enjoyed the sand and marram tussocks of Dawlish Warren’s dunes. An open secret since the release of around 40 adults at Warren Point, it has slowly spread along the sandspit. But how far has it spread?

On Sunday 17th April a small band of DRAG members bravely turned out (in perfect weather) to help me find out. As at least half of the group hadn’t seen a sand lizard before, our first job was to find a suitably obliging individual prepared to gawped at by an over excited group of herpers!

Luckily we quickly came across a superb male, who proceeded to trot up and down in front of the assembled team (and a large loud family group) showing off his vivid green flanks and giving the impression it was going to be a walk in the park! Sadly the first part of the walk proved to be an exercise in me saying “ah there is often one here...” and “hmm perhaps it too hot...”  The limited sightings of females and common lizards could have been an identification pitfall for the survey to come had it not been for the thoughtful provision of some ID pictures (thanks Stephen!).

And so to the survey.  After a brief scuffle, the site was portioned up and pairs of surveyors set off to various parts of the site with instructions to record all lizards seen. I can now reveal that…….I haven’t fully collated the results but at least 11 individual sand lizards were seen, which is pretty good considering how hot is was but the middle of the day (thermometer in my car read 18 degrees centigrade).

Thank you all that took part I will produce a master map and email out to everyone. For those that saw it I guess the highlight was the pair of males fighting or the pair in courtship mode (both along a stretch of the path we’d all just walked along!).

I understand a lot more people wanted to come on the event and I hope we can run one later in year. In the mean time if you are visiting the Warren, do call into the visitor centre and one of the Rangers will point you in the right direction.

Steve Ayres, Ranger, Dawlish Warren NNR

Ebford Toad Migration, 12th March 2011

Posted on Thursday 19th May, 2011
DRAG member Carole Lock joined Dick and Suzanne Downer, Toad Wardens of Ebford Clyst St Mary, on an organised toad patrol.  Thanks to Dick and Suzanne for sharing their story with us, and for their life-saving work!

“Wednesday 9th February until Saturday 12th March. 32 days.  Commitment 18:15hrs until 21:15hrs involving a minimum of 5/6 persons nightly.

It came very much of a surprise when a small number of toads were spotted on Wednesday evening the 9th February. Numbers increased for two or three nights but as usual weather conditions played their part and there followed a break of several days.  Activity increased once more but yet again there were breaks and the exercise finally came to a close on Saturday 12th March by which time we had achieved creditable results.  1257 toads, 9 frogs, 27 newts, and 52 fatalities.

Thanks are due to the Ebford faithful and some very welcome newcomers who approached the exercise with good humour, commitment and patience despite the disappointment on some evenings when numbers collected were very low. Assistance was forthcoming from nearby villages of Clyst St. George, Clyst St. Mary, Woodbury followed by Exeter, Exmouth, Crediton and Honiton. Without this help we could not have coped and my grateful thanks go to these volunteers who travelled many miles to support us and so kept losses to a minimum.  On occasions an hour of searching on a soulless and miserable evening provided a reward of 3 toads but on other occasions a pick-up in excess of 50 was achieved.”

Dick and Suzanne Downer



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