Jersey Amphibian and Reptile Group (JARG)
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About us

About Us

The Group, formerly known as The Agile Frog Group, originally formed in 1993, it was then was renamed to Jersey Amphibian & Reptile Group, JARG, in 2007. The aims of JARG are to:

- Raise awareness of our 3 Amphibian Species and 4 Reptile Species.
- Collect and collate herpetofauna records, sharing these with www.recordpool.org.uk & www.jerseybiodiversitycentre.org.je
- Encourage the general public to report their herpetofauna sightings.
- Conserve the native amphibians and reptiles through study and direct action.
- Provide general advice on our amphibian and reptile species as well as their habitat management.

The Amphibian and Reptile Species found on Jersey are:


Amphibians

- The Jersey Toad aka Crapaud (Bufo spinosus)
- Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina)
- Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

Reptiles

- Grass Snake (Natrix helvetica)
- Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)
- Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata)
- Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

 

All 3 Amphibians and 4 Reptiles are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000.

 

Amphibians and reptiles suffer from a poor public image – feared by some people and simply misunderstood by many others. It is important to encourage public appreciation and awareness of amphibians and reptiles by providing the opportunity for people to become involved in wildlife recording and conservation.

Many people have never seen a lizard or a snake and would not know where to see one; yet with simple guidance, the experience could be brought to many people, whilst overcoming the negative perceptions that often hamper conservation efforts.

News

News

10 years of Toadwatch

Posted on Friday 18th November, 2016

The Department of the Environment commissioned the Amphibian and Reptile Trust to analyse and prepare a report on 10 years of citizen science data collected under the Toadwatch survey.

Jersey residents were asked to take part in Toadwatch by reporting sightings of toads using ponds. Data has now been collected over 10 years (2005 - 2014).

The analysis has created an up to date toad distribution map for Jersey.  It has highlighted features of the Jersey landscape that are most important for toads and suggested areas to create new breeding ponds.

A breakdown of the types of ponds used for toad breeding overwhelmingly supports the suggestion that man-made habitats are critical for the species'' survival in the island. Ensuring these habitats are maintained and connected across the island is considered to be a critical task to conserve our toads into the future

Please find a link to this recently published report on the analysis of the data collected by Toadwatch volunteers since 2005.

http://www.gov.je/Government/Pages/StatesReports.aspx?ReportID=2442


Volunteer field assistants required – radio-tracking the grass snake in Jersey

Posted on Tuesday 23rd June, 2015

Background

Currently we are carrying out a PhD on the “Status and conservation of grass snakes Natrix natrix and slow-worms Anguis fragilis in Jersey, C.I.” Records of grass snakes in Jersey are limited with a patchy distribution. Its status is unclear, with little information available on its ecology and population size in Jersey, there is much to be discovered. The grass snake is undoubtedly the rarest of Jersey’s reptiles. Determining the status of the species will provide insight into the need for intervention and species recovery. One of many research objectives are to investigate and model their movements, home range size, and habitat use therefore the ‘Think grass snake campaign’ needs your help.

The position

We require the support of keen volunteers to work alongside our PHD student to carry out this radio-tracking and monitoring. We are looking for people who are able to commit full regular days of independent radio tracking to up to 3 months starting ASAP. This could be 1 day a week or 5?

Volunteer activities will be focused around intensively tracking and, if necessary, searching for grass snakes and recording basic behavioral data in the field. Training will be given in radio-tracking, habitat assessment and understanding grass snake behavior. Volunteers will also be responsible for entering some of the data collected into the field database.

Requirements

Applicants will need to:

§ Have a background in biological sciences

§ Be happy to work outdoors and have some previous herpetology experience

§ Have flexibility, commitment and determination to work, under sometimes uncomfortable or frustrating conditions, combined with good physical fitness

§ Provide careful attention to data recording

§ Be able to commit minimum of 1 day per week for 3 months

§ Be resident in Jersey

§ Have transport within Jersey

This is the ideal opportunity for someone looking for practical conservation experience working with reptiles. If you wish to apply, please contact Rob ward rjw53@kent.ac.uk or telephone 07829968303


Crucial time for grass snakes now

Posted on Tuesday 23rd June, 2015

A scientist leading a campaign to save Jersey’s only native snake is asking people to take some simple measures to help the Island’s dwindling grass snake population lay their eggs safely.

Doctoral student Rob Ward of the University of Kent is working with the Department of the Environment on the ‘Think Grass Snake’ campaign, carrying out research on ways to save Jersey’s non-venomous and harmless grass snake.

The grass snake, Jersey’s rarest reptile, relies on warm humid environments, such as those found in compost and manure heaps, to lay and incubate its eggs, so protecting these nesting habitats is an important step in preventing extinction.

June and early July are one of the most important times of the year for the grass snake; the females will have mated in the spring, and are now searching for vital egg-laying sites.

Rob, who’s been tracking grass snakes since the start of spring on various sites in the Island, is encouraging people to keep an eye out for grass snakes that may be using their compost and manure heaps for nest sites, and to report sightings all year round. He is also asking for the piles not to be disturbed until October if possible, to allow the young snakes to hatch after a two month incubation period.

He said: ‘This is one of the most important times of year for grass snakes, as the next generation's chance of survival depends on finding the best conditions. As humans have modified landscapes and habitat over centuries, grass snakes have come to be largely dependent on man-made piles of rotting vegetation, such as compost and manure heaps, to provide the perfect incubation chamber for their eggs.’

Rob continued, ‘Any information from the public, no matter how small or insignificant, is extremely valuable and will make a real contribution to the protection of Jersey’s grass snakes. It all helps build a clearer picture of where they’re living and nesting and how to protect them, and will contribute towards a study which aims to stop the decline of these native reptiles.’

Sightings can be reported through the campaign website www.ThinkGrassSnake.je which has a quick, online survey for submitting sightings. The site provides facts and resources about amphibian and reptiles, and how to encourage them. There is also a dedicated telephone line 441628 (a ‘spotline’) for people to call if they see a grass snake or slow worm.


Report your reptile sightings

Posted on Friday 17th October, 2014

The scientist leading Jersey’s Think Grass Snake campaign is calling on Islanders to report any reptile sightings over the next few weeks.

As the days get shorter and the temperature falls, Jersey’s reptiles will soon be searching for places to hibernate over the winter and may not appear again until March or April.

University of Kent researcher Rob Ward, whose work will be instrumental in the future conservation of Jersey’s grass snakes and slow worms, is asking people to send in any reports of grass snakes and slow-worm sightings this month (October) and to keep an eye out in spring for a number of reptiles turning up in the same spot.

The information will build a picture of where our rarest reptiles choose to hibernate. The loss of these sites can have a large effect on local reptile populations.

Mr Ward said: “The more information we have about potential hibernation sites, the more we can do to protect these magnificent but elusive creatures. By recording where reptiles are spotted, we can work out where hibernation may be occurring as sightings start to tail off. Similarly in spring, the first sightings can alert us to the emergence of reptiles from hibernation.”

If you think you may have spotted any going into hibernation, please get in touch with the Think Grass Snake Campaign by calling 0044 1534 441628, or visiting www.ThinkGrassSnake.Je/about

How to tell a possible hibernation spot

  • Sites include old rock walls and earth banks, root systems, mammal burrows, piles of debris, and large grass tussocks.
  • Hibernation spots are normally in areas that receive some sun to avoid very low winter temperatures.
  • Many creatures will share a really good hibernation site and for slow-worms this may mean hundreds all using the same spot.

New British toad species found in Jersey

Posted on Friday 10th October, 2014

Collaboration between conservationists from Jersey and the UK, and scientists in the Netherlands and Portugal, has revealed that Jersey’s iconic toads are a distinct new species, different from toads found in England.

The new British species is revealed in a paper published in the October edition of The Herpetological Journal, published by the British Herpetological Society. The data will be presented by scientist/conservationist Dr John Wilkinson at this week’s Inter-Island Environment Meeting, at Durrell (Jersey Zoo) over the next two days (9-10 October).

Jersey is the only Channel Island to have toads. As a new species, unique in Jersey within the British Isles, they will need tailored conservation to ensure their future survival.

Most toad breeding populations in Jersey appear to be in small, privately-owned garden sites which often support only small (and possibly in the long-term non-viable) breeding populations of single numbers of spawning females. Many of these garden sites are in the west or south of the Island.

The Department of the Environment has been working to protect the Island’s toads for a number of years. Ongoing conservation measures include supporting and advising people who want to install a garden pond, improving where toads live and connecting different breeding sites so toad populations continue to thrive.

Jersey’s toad populations are monitored through Jersey Toadwatch, a project jointly run by the Department of the Environment and Durrell. The information is added to breeding records collected since 2005. This data gives conservationists a clearer picture on trends to inform future action.

Dr Wilkinson carried out his PhD research on Jersey toads and now works as Science Programme Manager for UK charity Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. He said “We always suspected there was something special about the toads of Jersey. They grow larger, breed earlier and use different habitats than English toads. Now we know they are a new species, we can ensure efforts for their conservation are directed to their specific needs.”

The Department of the Environment’s Principal Ecologist, John Pinel, added: “Conservation of biodiversity in Jersey has always had a high priority; this news will help ensure that toads continue to receive the positive action they deserve.”

The news is further evidence of Jersey’s biological distinctiveness, especially concerning amphibians. The agile frog Rana Dalmatina, is also unique to Jersey in a UK context, and has been the subject of successful conservation management in recent years.


Events

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Pondwatch JE

Pondwatch JE

What is Pondwatch JE?

Jersey has three native amphibian species, and a host of other wildlife for which ponds are a vital habitat. Pondwatch JE is a new project that aims to gather sightings of Jersey’s pond life to help assess their conservation status, distribution and habitat requirements. Pondwatch JE is the successor to both the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) which ran in Jersey from 2007 to 2018 and Toadwatch which ran from 2005 to 2018. During this time volunteers provided a great deal of information which has been used to inform the design of Pondwatch JE as well as influence efforts to protect the species.

Pondwatch JE was launched at the 2019 Wild about Jersey event, you can review the presentation here: pdfPondwatch JE training presentation

 

How can you help?

There are opportunities for everyone to get involved, with 3 levels of surveys depending on your interest, available time and experience.

All surveys take place between January and May.

 

Level 1 – spend 30 minutes looking for wildlife in ponds and send us your results. No experience or training is required.

pdfPondwatch JE level 1 handbook

pdfLevel1 Pondwatch JE survey form 

 

Level 2 – carry out 5 surveys, each taking 30 to 60 minutes. You will search for amphibians and other pondlife at a pond using three methods; visual searches, netting and night time torch surveys. You do not need experience but you will need to attend a training event.

pdfPondwatch JE level 2 handbook

pdfPondwatch JE Level 2 survey form

pdfGrassland classifications guide is a summary of the key grassland habitats you may find in your survey area.

This guide is adapted from the UK Habitat Classification (UK Habitat Classification Working Group, 2018)

 

Level 3 – you will carry out multiple intensive surveys at known and suspected agile frog sites. You will also contribute to testing Jersey’s amphibians for diseases. This is for experienced surveyors only.

 

All Pondwatch JE surveys take place between January and May.

 

Water quality tests – you can help us assess the level of pollution in Jersey’s ponds using quick and simple test kits.

pdfPondwatch JE Water quality handbook

pdfPondwatch JE water quality form

 

Even if you don't have the time to commit to one of these surveys, you can still join in by recording any sighting you have and submit these as a casual record.

 

Getting started

Before starting your survey you will need to complete a volunteer working agreement and have written consent from the landowner.

pdfVolunteer Working Agreement

pdfLandowner Agreement.

 

Following the instructions in the appropriate level handbook, visit the site and modify the generic risk assessment as required for any risks associated with the site.

docGeneric Risk Assessment Template (ARG UK)

  

ID guides

A number of identification guides and information sources are available for you to download:

A guide to the identification of Jersey amphibians - pdfAmphibians of Jersey ID guide

A guide to the identification of Dragonfly and Damselfly - pdfDragonfly and damselfly ID guide

A summary of invasive non-native plants and a free e-learning course are available via the links below.

Invasive Non-Native aquatic plant species ID guides

Invasive Non-Native Species free e-learning course

For help with habitat classifications the UK Habitat Classification guidance is available from the ecountability.co.uk website.

 

 

 

Additional resources

docxPondwatch JE Introduction

pdfPondwatch JE training presentation

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reptilewatch JE

Reptilewatch JE

What is Reptilewatch JE?

Jersey has four native reptile species, some of which are rarely seen and are limited to certain habitats. Reptilewatch JE is a new project that aims to gather sightings of Jersey’s four native reptile species to help assess their conservation status, distribution and habitat requirements. Reptilewatch JE is the successor to the widespread reptile surveys undertaken as part of the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) which ran in Jersey from 2007 to 2018. During this time volunteers provided a great deal of information which has been used to inform the design of Reptilewatch JE as well as influence efforts to protect the species.

How can you help?

There are opportunities for everyone to get involved, with 3 levels of surveys depending on your interest, available time and experience.

 

Level 1 – spend 30 minutes looking for reptiles and send us your results. No experience or training is required.

pdfReptilewatch JE level 1 survey form

pdfReptilewatch JE level 1 handbook

 

Level 2, option 1 – carry out 6 surveys, each taking 1 to 2 hours. You will search for reptiles along a survey route and check artificial refugia (sheets of roofing material) for reptiles and other species. You will need training at one of our training events but no previous experience is needed.

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 survey form

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 widespread reptiles handbook

 

Level 2, option 2 – carry out 6 surveys, each taking 30 minutes. You will search for wall lizards at known and suspected wall lizard sites. You will need training at one of our training events but no previous experience is needed.

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 wall lizard survey form

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 wall lizard handbook

 

Level 3 – you will carry out multiple intensive surveys at known and suspected grass snake sites. This is for experienced surveyors only.

pdfReptilewatch level 3 handbook

All surveys take place between March and October.

 

If you currently do not have time to commit to carrying out these surveys please record any sighting you have and add a casual record

Getting started

Before starting your survey you will need to complete a volunteer working agreement and have written consent from the landowner.

pdfVolunteer Working Agreement

pdfLandowner Agreement.

Please complete and return the volunteer and landowner agreement forms to the Natural Environment Team before you get started.

 

The next step is to consider the risks associated with your survey and the surrounding area.

Please refer to the docGeneric risk assessment template and modify this as required.

How to survey

A reminder of the 2019 training presentation is provided here: pdfReptilewatch JE training presentation.

For survey guidance, please refer to the relevant handbook for the level of survey you are undertaking.

Additional help on habitat assessment of grassland areas is available here: pdfGrassland classifications

This guide is adapted from the UK Habitat Classification (UK Habitat Classification Working Group, 2018)

 

Reptilewatch JE Handbooks

pdfReptilewatch JE full handbook

pdfReptilewatch JE level 1 handbook

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 widespread reptiles handbook

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 wall  lizard handbook

 

Reptilewatch JE ID Guides

A series of ID guides are provided to help with identifying the reptiles and other species you might find on your surveys.

pdfReptiles of Jersey ID guide

pdfBeetle ID guide

pdfCockroaches of Jersey ID guide

pdfSmall mammals of Jersey ID

For help with habitat classifications the UK Habitat Classification guidance is available from the ecountability.co.uk website.

 

 

 

Contact us

Contact Us

Contact Kristina Le Feuvre

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.


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