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





Very common lizards!

Posted on Friday 11th September, 2020

Hertfordshire's common lizards (Zootoca vivipara) have been out in force this month enjoying the late summer sun. No Man's Land common, grassland sites in Hitchin and King's Meads nature reserve are among a few where large numbers of adults and youngsters have been seen. They are growing and eating as much as they can before the  winter. Late March-Early April will see them emerge again to take up basking positions on logs and branches close to cover in sunny locations. 

COVID update

Posted on Wednesday 29th July, 2020

During the period of effective lockdown, HertsARG has effectively suspended all group activities. This means, of course, that the bulk of the survey season for 2020 has been missed. However. as we move into autumn and the season of winter tasks, we will be adhering to the following advice from ARG UK:


  • Reduced numbers of persons on tasks/events or training sessions (following national guidelines - each country may differ).
  • Maintain 2 metre distance between volunteers and also with members of the public you may encounter.
  • Avoid crowded beauty spots.
  • Stay outside as much as possible (wearing face masks if inside).
  • Travel separately or with your residential bubble or family unit, take extra care with public transport (wear a face mask).
  • Plan tasks carefully with volunteers bringing own food/refreshments.
  • Organise meetings online wherever possible


Groups visiting sites will be limited. If you would like to get involved, but are concerned regarding the current situation, please do not hesitate to contact to discuss.

HertsARG Whatsapp Group

Posted on Wednesday 8th May, 2019

Many people now use the App "WhatsApp" - a free downloadable resource - in order to keep in touch. HertsARG  now has a group which we use to share dates of upcoming visits and work we are doing. If you would like to be kept abreast and share information/ask questions, please send us your mobile telephone number and we will add this to the group.

Looking to get your Great Crested Newt licence?

Posted on Wednesday 18th October, 2017

Every year we are contacted by people looking to acquire references for their Great Crested Newt Licence. This is not a problem, but we require the following;

  • Undertake surveyor training. We run courses every year which give participants the basic skills required to identify Hertfordshire's resident amphibians and reptiles. Coming along to one of these would be a good start! They are held at Bayfordbury Field Centre and give you the opportunity to ask questions and meet other members.
  • Participation in HertsARG activities for a season. From spring to autumn, we are busy conducting surveys and other conservation work. If you are prepared to come along regularly and get involved in surveying, we will be able to assess your identification skills and, importantly, how well you look after the animals. We are a voluntary organisation and rely on people helping out. Even if you can just give one year of assistance, that would be great - although wee hope you stay longer.
  • Exam. Dr Chantal Helm (university of Hertfordshire) has put together a written exam for the end of the season which gives you a chance to show off your knowledge of all things newt. Pass this, and we will provide a reference.


Any questions about this, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Latest speaker to come to HertsARG

Posted on Sunday 22nd November, 2015

Rob Ward, from Kent University, joined us this week to tell us about his work with the Grass Snakes of Jersey. It was interesting to hear about the amount of survey effort that has gone into collecting his data, invloving many volunteers from the island. Of particular interest was his account of the radio tracking of snakes, which showed just how far some individual animals could travel in a relatively short space of time.

Grass Snakes are Hertfordshire's only snake species, and are totally harmless. They will be a target species for the distribution data being collated, and Rob has offered his help and advice in surveying these and other reptile species over the coming years.





Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

HertsARG Meeting

Sun 1st April, 2012

Meeting at Bayfordbury Field Study Centre focussing on Great Crested Newts. Afternoon (3pm) start. Check for last minute alterations to timetable or email davewillisbhs@yahoo.co.uk

HertsARG Mini-meeting

Fri 3rd August, 2012

There will be a brief catch-up at Amersham (not Herts, I know) before the Thames and Chiltern Herp. Society Meeting. Please arrive for about 7:30pm.

"TCHS next meeting is on Friday 3rd August.We will have Francis Cosquieri(Thrasops on here) giving a talk about keeping some of the more unusual snakes and lizards in naturalistic vivaria rather than the usual RUB boxes.He keeps Rat Snakes,Whip Snakes and Sand Snakes amongst others.Hopefully he will be bringing some live specimens along as well.

Venue the Barn Room, Amersham Community Centre, Chiltern Avenue, Bucks. HP6 5AH. Meetings start at 8.00-8.15pm."

Let me know if you can make it!


There's an entrance fee of £2.50 for non-members.Or you can join the club for £20.00 per year for a single member.We are one of the few clubs that have monthly meetings and talks every month including outside speakers.So if you are looking for a club that is F.B.H. affiliated and live in Hertfordshire,Buckinghamshire,Bedfordshire or Middlesex we are here.

HertsARG January Meeting

Fri 11th January, 2013

First of our monthly meetings. Hereafter, meetings will take place on the second Friday of every month at St Albans Sub Aqua Club, Cottonmill Lane, St Albans.

February Meeting

Fri 8th February, 2013

Monthly meeting. St Albans Sub Aqua club. See News for details.

HertsARG April Meeting

Fri 12th April, 2013

Monthly meeting at St Albans Dive club. Spring is here!

Toad Crossing check

Thu 18th April, 2013

We are checking out some potential toad crossing sites later this week in North Herts. If these prove to be useful,we will establish a series of toad crossing patrols. PLease let us know if you would like to be more involved.

Chorley Wood visit

Sun 28th April, 2013

Visit to Chorleywood Common to find reptiles and amphibian. 2pm meeting time. If you would like to come along please get in touch.

August Meeting- Slow worm workshop

Sat 10th August, 2013

This month's meeting will be held at the Bayfordbury Field Station near Hertford on Sat 10 Aug at 10:30am. The theme will be SLOW WORMS.Rory Dimond will be presenting a talk on his work with slow worms. There will be a reptile survey and we will be laying out a number of refuges around the recent slow worm release site to monitor a population that has been translocated to the site. There will be discussions around appropriate management for reptiles on site.

Herts Arg Oct Meeting and Slow Worm Monitoring

Sat 12th October, 2013

The October meeting will be held at 3pm on Sat 12 Oct at Bayfordbury Field Station (SG138LD).The meeting will be followed by monitoring of the relocated slow worm population. This will involve, weighing, sexing and measuring and photographing all captured slow worms so that we can keep a record of their body condition going into winter. We will do the same in spring when they emerge from hibernation.

Hertfordshire Natural History Society Autumn meeting

Sat 19th October, 2013

HertsARG will be attending the HNHS autumn meeting starting at 2pm on Sat 19 Oct at Woolmer Green Hall. See http://www.hnhs.org/view_meeting.php?id=101 for further details. All are welcome to attend.

Contact us

Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

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


Upcoming Events

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