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

East Hertfordshire amphibian pond survey reccie 2

Sat 22nd March, 2014

Details to follow

BHS/TCHG Meeting

Sat 12th April, 2014


Joint meeting Saturday 12 April 2014, 1.30 - 5.30 pm at the Drake Hall, Amersham Community Centre, Chiltern Ave, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 5AH.

1.30 – 2.00 Arrival and coffee/refreshments

Chairman: Simon Townson

2.00 – 2.40. Matthew Rendle (Zoological Society of London): ‘Royal Python conservation status and trade in West Africa’.

2.40 – 3.20. Emma Wombwell (Institute of Zoology, London / Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent):

‘Chytrid in the Amphibian Trade’.

Short break and refreshments/snacks; and informal session (see below)

Chairman: Colin Melsom

4.00 – 4.40. Luke Harding (Zoological Society of London): ‘Conservation and Captive Breeding of the Dominican Mountain Chicken (Leptodactylus fallax)’.

4.40 – 5.30. Further refreshments and an Open and Informal Session for members – Exhibition of captive bred animals and items/posters of herpetological interest (including science, books, art, photography).

There will be limited space for up to 20 exhibits, plus the Thames & Chiltern herpetological shop for equipment/dry goods.

Members who would like space should contact Simon Townson (01438 880039) eves or s.townson@imperial.ac.uk) or Colin Melsom (01494 865088) eves or colinmelsom@sky.com)

Amersham is easy to get to via J18 of the M25 or by tube/rail to Amershamstation. Parking is available and entrance to the meeting is free.

Balls Wood Survey

Fri 13th June, 2014

Follow up amphibian survey at Balls Wood with bottle trapping to be checked Sat morning.


Sat 6th September, 2014

Weather permitting, we will be visiting Dorset, one of the few counties in the Country where it is possible to see all of our native reptiles. Please get in touch if you are interested in coming 07581121270.

Surveying Training

Tue 20th January, 2015

Training for those taking part in the Hertfordshire atlas revision. Small mammals and Reptile and Amphibian identification. Refugia will be given to attendees.

Hertfordshire Festival of Wildlife

Sun 29th July, 2018

Please come and hear a talk about the Reptiles and Amphibians of Hertfordshire, along with all the other usual fascinating displays and events at this year's Festival of Wildlife being held at Panshanger Park.



Contact us

Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

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


Upcoming Events

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