Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HertsARG)

About us

About Us

Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HertsARG) was established in 2011 to promote, conserve and study Hertfordshire's native populations of reptiles and amphibians. Since then we have gone from strength to strength and warmly welcome new members whatever their level of knowledge or experience. We have  Whatsapp and Facebook groups.  The group contains several licensed great crested newt workers and we are happy to take questions and queries from the public on these and other species.

The following species are found in Hertfordshire;

Smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris)

Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus)

Palmate newts (Lissotriton helvetica)

Common frogs (Rana temporaria)

Common toads (Bufo bufo)

Midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) *Non-native and generally restricted to St Albans area*

Common/viviparous lizards (Zootoca vivpara)

Wall lizards (Podarcis muralis)

Slow worms (Anguis fragilis)

Grass snake (Natrix helvetica)

There are no reliable records of adders (Viper berus) in Hertfordshire. Despite extensive searching across the county, we have not found any. They are therefore regarded as extinct here, pending proof of any animals being provided.  Any suspected bites or injuries should be taken to hospital  or veterinary surgery. 

Over the coming months we hope there will be news of a number of interesting and valuable conservation and research projects. Should you wish to become involved, or simply to be kept updated of progress, please email your contact details to davewillisbhs@yahoo.co.uk.

If you have any questions or ideas for future work, or know of a site you think may be of interest, let us know!



David Willis - Founder

(Please email for details, upcoming projects and any unwanted animals)


Telephone: 07581121270

Mammal Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) and Herp record queries;

Dr Chantal Helm or Mr Ian Flack
University of Hertfordshire





June-July Update

Posted on Monday 25th July, 2011

Herts ARG June-July Update

Bayfordbury Bioblitz

There was a good turnout at Bayfordbury Field Centre earlier this month for the Bioblitz survey. Although the weather was a little warm for most reptiles and amphibians, a dip in the ponds found some smooth newt efts and common frog(lets). This demonstrates yet again the importance of ponds and similar environments in Conservation.

Wildlife Trust reserves- Herpetological surveys

HertsARG has been invited to undertake surveys and, where appropriate, conservation tasks, with the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT). This Trust manages excellent  habitats for reptiles and amphibians across the county, and many HertsARG members will be keen visitors.

 If you are interested in joining a Survey group, please let me know, along with the area of the county you can get to most easily.

Midwife Toads

Midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) were reported to the ARG earlier this month in the Harpenden area. This is a non-native species with a very distinctive peeping-whistle, which, in this particular case, was causing some disturbance!

Facebook page

For those of you who are on facebook, there is now a dedicated HertsARG group. By all means, please get on and join!


Enquiries and Suggestions

There as been a steady stream of enquiries in via the HertsARG website. Please keep your own questions, comments and photos coming. You will note that there are no photos up on the website yet, but that is due to change thanks to the volunteered services of a couple of members.


It is likely that there will be an AGM at the end of the field season. If you have any suggestions as to venue or structure, please let me know.

May update

Posted on Monday 23rd May, 2011
Saturday 28th May
 Saturday's newt dipping session at Bayfordbury is likely to be cancelled, due to other commitments and people being understandably busy. Could I ask everyone to keep an eye out for promising ponds so that we could get swabbing some newts for the ZSL project.
Ponds for Wildlife PDF
ARC UK have produced and sent round a PDF (also available in hardcopy) on how to improve ponds for wildlife. However, it is very large, so I haven't sent it out automatically! If you would like a copy let me have your details.
Sightings/ Records
Please keep sightings/records coming in so we can continue building up a picture of the distribution of reptiles and amphibians in Herts.
As usual, if you have any ideas or suggestions for the future activities of HertsARG, let me know!

Hertfordshire reptiles and amphibians

Posted on Sunday 17th April, 2011
Have you seen a frog in your pond or a snake in the grass? If so, please let HertsARG know.  We can ensure that these records are added to county-wide databases which will build up a picture of species numbers in the county. Working with other organisations, we can then help focus attention on those areas which could benefit from conservation work. These records will be shared with Hertfordshire Natural History Society and the Wildlife Trust among others. Please contact davewillisbhs@yahoo.co.uk.

Easter Newt Hunt

Posted on Sunday 17th April, 2011
Please try and get involved with this survey, helping to establish newt numbers in England and Wales. Don't forget to send your results through to HertsARG for our county records too!  Full details can be found at; http://www.newthunt.org

Bayfordbury Survey Day

Posted on Thursday 17th March, 2011

Bayfordbury Herp Surveying Session 


Saturday 2nd April 2011 at 2pm




This is an opportunity to meet other volunteers and have an introduction to the surveying of reptiles and amphibians. It should last 2-3 hours with the emphasis being on learning and sharing knowledge. We are lucky in having Dr Jenny Jones (County recorder for Reptiles and Amphibians) and Dr Ronnie Edmonds-Brown (University of Hertfordshire Natural Sciences) joing us .

The approximate structure of the meeting (subject to change)will be;


-Welcome and Introduction to HertsARG (Dave Willis)

-Herpetological Field Surveying (Dr Edmonds-Brown)

-Exploration of ponds and grounds of Bayfordbury Centre

-Summary and Q&A session




HertsARG has received generous assistance from staff at the University of Hertfordshire. Thanks especially to Shaun Dowman at Bayfordbury Learning Centre. Information regarding the centre and its location can be found here;




Toilets and tea and coffee facilities will be available. Please bring sensible clothing, being mindful of the changeable April weather. 


It would be much appreciated if you could confirm whether or not you will be able to make it beforehand, so that we have an idea of numbers. Any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.



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Contact us

Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

(Please email for details, upcoming projects and any unwanted animals)


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