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





Atlas progress 2015

Posted on Tuesday 1st September, 2015
Under the direction of the Atlas team, headed up by Dr Chantal Helm and Ian Flack of the University of Hertfordshire, we have been busily putting out refugia and checking ponds throughout the survey season. This has yielded dozens of results for amphibians and reptiles and added substantially to our knowledge of the distribution of these species. Please get in touch if you want to get more involved.

Hertfordshire Wildlife Atlas

Posted on Tuesday 24th March, 2015

2015 sees the start of a county wide survey effort, co-ordinated by Hertfordshire Natural History Society (HNHS), the University of Hertfordshire (UH), the Biological Records Centre(BRC)/Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) to update the excellent Atlas of the the county's Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, published in 2000. Further details can be found here: http://www.hnhs.org/view_news.php?id=102

This is being organised on a Tetrad basis, with people being allocated 2x2km squares across the county, with people being asked to submit data to the BRC. We have already co-ordinated one training day for willing volunteers, which took place in early February, with more planned (see events). If you wish to have further training in reptile and amphibian (herpetological) field techniques, or Mammal ID skills as well as a generally interesting day with like minded people, please come along and get started on your surveying!

The survey will take place over 5 years, and you don't have to restrict yourself to your tetrad when submitting data! Please get involved!


2015:Busy year!

Posted on Monday 12th January, 2015

2015 promises to be the busiest year so far for HertsARG. Activities are going to include;

  • GCN surveying courses
  • Reptile and Amphibian ID courses.
  • Frequent countywide visits in order to survey for presence of Herpetofauna.
  • HertsARG representation at conferences worldwide.
  • Proctical conservation and habitat restoration work.

Please get in touch if you are interested!

Unwanted Terrapins: Hertfordshire Turtle trapping

Posted on Saturday 16th August, 2014

The problem caused by ready availability and the various "crazes" associated with pet turtles or terrapins, is well known. Animals are bought when small, often following bad advice from pet shops and aquatic centres, and grow to be large, demanding reptiles. Often, when that little creature (which was cute when the size of a 50p coins) is 10" long, eating loads, smelling badly and maybe even nipping fingers, people feel less inclined to keep them. And that is when they get dumped . . .

Recently, a local animal rescue contacted me on behalf of a local Council. They have asked that some terrapins, illegally dumped in a pond, be removed, for the welfare of the animals as well as the impact they may be having on the environment.

Therefore, HertsARG has now constructed (and is refining) a turtle trap, which is a humane method of catching basking turtles - a sort of floating basket- in order that they can be safely removed. Catching these animals is proving tricky, but the work is ongoing!

If you know of any illegally released terrapins please let us and we can try to help.

If you have turtles/terrapins (or any reptile/amphibian) which you are struggling to keep and are thinking of releasing PLEASE get in touch. You won't get into trouble but we have contacts and resources which we can use to help you out.07581121270

Wildlife Trust work:preliminary results

Posted on Saturday 16th August, 2014

Over the last few months, Dr Chantal Helm of the University of Hertfordshire, and a HertsARG member has been organising a progect at Balls Wood reserve. This woodland site contains a number of ponds, in various stages of pond "life cycles" which are home to a number of amphibian and reptile species. These include several species of newt (including Great Crested Newts).

Over the past 2 years, many of these ponds have had conservation work carried at the direction of HMWT, but before the work was done a survey was carried out to see how amphibians were doing in these ponds.

The results of the repeated survey visits conducted earlier this year are in, and although processing the data is at an early stage, it seems that the work undertaken has had a positive impact on populations. Watch this space for further details!





Show Past Events

Toad Crossings 2021

Mon 1st February, 2021 - Wed 31st March, 2021

Want to help out our declining toads? Several Toad crossing sites are now registered in Hertfordshire at a range of locations, and HertsARG volunteers have been helping out wherever they can. Please get in touch if you would like to help toads on roads, or know of a site where they are being killed by cars on the way to their ponds.

Contact us

Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

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


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