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.
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!
Please note that the two April great crested newt training courses have been cancelled and re-scheduled to May due to the unseasonally cold and wet weather. Go to the Events pages for the more information on the courses on the new dates of 11/12 and 18/19 May. The location of the course may also change if the site is flooded. If you have already paid or registered interest for either of the courses, Nicky Green will get get in contact with you directly to update you on the situation.
Dear DRAG friends and members,
Sunday 24th March – Reptile survey training day, East Devon, time and location tbc
Learn how to ID our widespread reptiles, where to find them and what to do with your sightings. The training will be for half a day and will include a classroom session plus field visit. It will particularly useful for friends/members hoping to take part in nature reserve monitoring this summer. Cost £10, to register interest please contact me on email address below. If there is enough demand a second session will be held in north Devon.
At present we have only four people interested in attending this training day. If you are interested in coming please let me know by the end of Friday 15th March. If we do not get at least 12 people the event will be cancelled.
Nicky Green CEnv MIEEM
I am running the Plymouth Half Marathon on April 28th 2013 to raise money for Cancer Research in memory of a dear friend and colleague.
Please donate to this worthy cause by visiting www.justgiving.com/Nicky-Green4
Here is some information about some up and coming events – hope you can make them!! Mabel is very busy organising further events for later in the summer which we’ll let you know about asap. There will also be the opportunity to monitor nature reserves – contact me if you’re interested..... This may be ideal for students wanting to do a dissertation on reptiles and/or amphibians or just anyone who is very keen!
Note that some events, indicated, are for DRAG members only. If you want to join DRAG, (it's free!) please contact Kim Leaver, Database Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a bit of amphibian news below. Watch this space for 'slime' test results....
"RSPB welcomes public response to call for information on the appearance of strange “jelly-like” substance at its Ham Wall Nature reserve in Somerset
Following yesterday’s appeal for information about a strange jelly like substance that has appeared at its Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset the RSPB has received a number of theories about its origin.
Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the south west said; “We’ve been delighted by the number of people that have contacted us about the mystery slime.
Many pointed out the sighting of a strange meteor like object over the reserve last week [Note 1] captured on film by a local wildlife photographer. However, the majority of people suggested more earthly origins. Some identified it as a slime mould, but by far the commonest was that its appearance was related to amphibian activity.”
The RSPB was contacted by Peter Green a Devonshire vet who works with wildlife, who gave a particularly logical and simple explanation following his own researches.
Tony Whitehead explains: “At this time of year amphibians are spawning. The spawn is held in a substance known as glycoprotein which is stored in the female’s body.
“If the animal is attacked by a predator – herons for instance are fond of the occasional frog – it will quite naturally drop its spawn and the associated glycoprotein. This is designed to swell on contact with water, which gives the gelatinous mass we are all familiar with in frog spawn. However, if it’s unfertilized, it is just the empty glycoprotein that is dropped – which on contact with moist ground will swell and give a clear slime like substance.”
“While this is our favoured explanation for this appearance of slime, it’s also worth remembering that other things can give a similar appearance. Certain slime moulds can. So can the wonderfully named crystal brain fungus, but this only appears on wood. And as mentioned yesterday, certain algae, and blue-green algae can also appear as a clear slime”
Tony Whitehead, RSPB South West
Upcoming events will be listed here.