Devon Reptile & Amphibian Group (DRAG)
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About us

About Us

Welcome to the Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group (DRAG) website.

 

Common Lizard

 

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:

  • To identify and protect important reptile and amphibian sites in the county of Devon
  • To support partner groups and organisations in conserving these sites
  • To better understand species distributions, populations and potential negative trends and to help mitigate or reverse those trends
  • To promote conservation through education and public engagement
  • To collect and submit data to Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC)

How do we achieve this?

  • Through monitoring and surveying of known sites
  • Through visiting potential sites of interest
  • By working along with landowners and organisations in providing advice and consultations on habitat management and species monitoring
  • By encouraging everyone to report sightings of reptiles and amphibians 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.
  • By holding events and by providing resources that aim to raise awareness and educate people about these amazing animals and their habitats
  • By recruiting more members

News

News

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 devonrag@hotmail.com.

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 (dragdata@pjforshaw.eclipse.co.uk) 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 http://www.dbrc.org.uk/.

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


Thanks to GCN volunteers and fame in Devon Life Magazine!

Posted on Thursday 19th May, 2011
A band of 20 marvellous volunteers has helped Julia with the surveys and several new populations of GCNs have been found in areas where they were thought to be absent.  Well done Julia and co!

Fame at last for newts, the project and DRAG have been publicised in Devon Life Magazine!  Go to
http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&pnum=122&refresh=7k0Mt1F2Py31&EID=bd704c85-e822-46cc-9ce9-448a58db0760&skip=true&p=122


Events

Events

Show Past Events

Discovering Amphibians and Reptiles - Online Course / Workshop

Wed 9th June, 2021 - Wed 30th June, 2021

Location: Online

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

Price: £30.00

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. 

Click here for full course details.

 

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.

Accrediting Agency

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC)

 


Resources

Resources

Introduction to Reptile Identification and Surveying

 

Adder Bites - Helpful Links

Facts and Advice

NHS Advice

 

Dogs and Adders

Dogs 'n' Adders - Information Leaflet

 

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.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and send a photo or description of the snake to devonrag@hotmail.com or to our Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/DevonARG/.

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.

Species Guides

Species Guides

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.

Adder Factsheet

 

 

Tadpoles

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.

Membership

Membership

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.

 

Membership benefits:

  • · Become part of a group of like minded individuals and keep in touch via social media or email
  • · Invitations to events, training and volunteering opportunities
  • · A quarterly newsletter
  • · Opportunities to see and work with elusive and hard to find species
  • · Opportunities to learn new skills
  • · Gain practical experience in conservation
  • · The opportunity to have a positive, lasting impact on Devon’s wildlife

 

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.

For example:

  • · Do you have an idea for an event or training?
  • · Is there a site near you that we are unaware of?

Drop us a line and let us know at devonrag@hotmail.com.

 

How do I join?

If you would like to become a member please send your request by email to devonrag@hotmail.com.

 

FAQ

  • · Question: How much does membership cost?

                Answer: Membership is free to join.

  • · Question: How long will my membership last?

                Answer: Currently, membership is on a rolling annual basis.

  • · Question: Do I need special knowledge, qualifications or experience to become a member?

                Answer: No. There are no prerequisites, nor is there any minimum level of commitment required.

  • · Question: Can I be a member but not volunteer?

                Answer: Yes. Whilst volunteering makes a big difference to what we do, we totally understand that not everyone’s circumstances allow for it.

  • · Question: How do I cancel my membership?

                Answer: You can cancel your membership at any time by sending your request to devonrag@hotmail.com.

 

Contact us

Contact Us

If you want to join DRAG and our email group, or have a general query, please contact a member of DRAG admin:

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Please be patient with us, this email address is not checked every day!


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