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





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.

Progress continues!

Posted on Sunday 27th February, 2011
Progress continues with the development of HertsARG. We are being offered support from a number of groups and a number of people have agreed to join us in our efforts. A special welcome to Dr Jenny Jones, the county recorder for Reptiles and Amphibians from the Hertfordshire natural history society (www.hnhs.org). Her involvement will be invaluable in ensuring this organisation collects and collates valuable data for conservation and research.

Hertfordshire becomes the UK’s newest ARG!

Posted on Wednesday 23rd February, 2011
The 2011 Herpetofauna Workers’ Meeting in Cardiff provided the inspiration for setting up the UK’s new Hertfordshire ARmphibian and Reptile Group. As always, this excellent conference allows the annual get-together of 150 people from county ARGs across the UK, and this year’s meeting provided an inspiring set of talks and workshops over two days.

There has never been an ARG group dedicated solely to the county of Hertfordshire. The wildlife charity LEHART covers the counties of London, Essex and Herts, and has a herpetofaunal focus, but it was felt that there was still room for a Herts-based ARG to generate more volunteer interest in amphibians and reptile across the county. Enthusiastic founder of HARG, David Willis, said “The minor problem I have is that there is no existing Herts ARG, and so the new website would have to be as much an appeal for interested members as anything, with a list of sites and tasks to be updated over time, and hopefully links to any organisations that want to be included.”

So please do consider joining Herts ARG by emailing davewillisbhs@yahoo.co.uk and get your name added to the email circulation list. A Yahoo Group may also be formed in due course, to allow posting of news, ideas, photos etc.

Also, if you have any ideas now for Herts-based amphibian or reptile projects, please contact us!

Visit to Dorset wall lizard populations

Posted on Wednesday 23rd February, 2011
Dave Willis of Herts ARG visited Dorset in August 2010 to try his luck at spotting one of our most unusual reptile species, the European wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). Although it is not native to Britain, dozens of populations have become established in southern Britain over recent decades. Most of them are probably the result of animals being deliberately released. It is illegal to introduce alien species to the wild, and some conservationists fear that wall lizards may be a danger to native reptiles, especially as they seem to be doing so well. Populations are thriving and spreading in many places, particularly along the south coast of England.

Dorset is one of the ‘hotspots’ with around a dozen populations, and an easy target for a day of wall lizard spotting. Dave Willis was accompanied by Dave Bird when he visited a recently-reported population at the Medieval beauty spot of Corfe Castle. They only saw one animal there, but even this would not have been possible on an hoc visit if there weren’t plenty more of them. The second site was Poole Bay cliffs, where several population centres are spreading outwards along a seven-mile stretch of habitat. Hence the sightings on Dave’s trip last August were numerous.

Dave Willis said: “Although we only turned up one juvenile wall lizard at Corfe Castle, Poole cliffs were teeming with them!.”

HertsARG Structure and constitution

Posted on Wednesday 23rd February, 2011
  • HertsARG exists to promote the conservation, appreciation and study of Hertfordshire’s native herpetofauna through active conservation and research projects, the promotion of like-minded organisations and groups and other work.
  • HertsARG will enadeavour to work with all relevant local organisations in order to promote, protect and understand the reptiles and amphibians of Hertfordshire.
  • HertsARG will both initiate projects and assist other organisations whenever possible.
  • Membership will be open to all interested parties via application to the chair.
  • The organisation of HertsARG will be managed through a board elected from membership*, which will include; Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer (if needed), website officer and others as necessary. *When membership commences.
  • HertsARG intends to be able to work with all age-groups and social identities. All members must be prepared to submit to a CRB check in the event that a project requires it. Abusive, anti-social or discriminatory behaviour whilst engaged on a project, or which may effect the standing or work of the group may result in membership being terminated.
  • An Annual General Meeting will be held.



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David Willis - Founder

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


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