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





Grass snakes caught in netting

Posted on Thursday 26th August, 2021

Netting is  used in gardens for a range of purposes. They are mainly used keep leaves out of ponds and birds off fruit and crops. However, they are a real problem for grass snakes who often become entangled in them. If they are not rescued quickly they can injure themselves  and often die from exposure or being vulnerable to predators. If you should find a grass snake wrapped up in your net, p[lease don't panic. There is some excellent advice here:Snakes__garden_netting_(Final_050814).pdf (unine.ch). If you are a bit nervous about removing it yourself, please do get in touch and we will try to help!

Happy 10th birthday HertsARG!

Posted on Wednesday 17th February, 2021

Join us to celebrate a decade of Hertfordshire's Amphibian and Reptile Group!

In 2011, HertsARG was born following discussions at the Herpetofauna Workers Meeting, that year held in Cardiff. This annual conference brings together conservationists and ecologists,  both amateur and professional, from across the country to share ideas and research findings...as well as a few beers! It was revealed that Hertfordshire did not have a group of volunteers co-ordinated to monitor and conserve amphibians and reptiles. With the generous support of ARG UK, and the provision of a website, HertsARG was born and able to follow in the footsteps of London, Essex and Herts Amphibian and Reptile Trust (LEHART), who were very supportive.

After a few years getting started, we joined forces with the University of Hertfordshire, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and Hertfordshire Natural History Society to commence the Hertfordshire Mammal, Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) project (News | HNHS | Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians - new countywide survey). This has been an intensive piece of work across the county, bringing in many volunteers to help map the distribution of relevant species. COVID-19 has pushed the completion of this back, but we are looking forward to completing this as soon as possible.

So, many thanks to all of those who have come out and got muddy with us! Now we are linked to the national ARGWeb, co-ordinating herp-focussed volunteer work across the country, we look forward to going from strength to strength!

Emerging from lockdown and hibernation

Posted on Wednesday 17th February, 2021

Across the county we are starting to see amphibians emerging from their winter dormancy. The first crested newt was spotted in a pond by a HertsARG member on the 16th February, along with plenty of smooth newts. These had been active for about a month previously, with HertsARG members from St Albans seeing them in their ponds. Common frogs were out and about in January too, but the cold snap which brought snow to the county meant a pause for their breeding activities. Interestingly, it appears that emergences are very linked to localised climates- low lying, more sheltered areas appear to see earliest emergence, with higher, more exposed sites having to wait a little later. Of course, there could be other reasons for this 

Ordinarily, we would be carrying out toad crossing activities at this time of year, but we are following government guidelines and restricting movement and activities. At least the lack of traffic should mean some safer travels for them!

hopefully we will all be able to meet up soon and get out and about looking for reptiles and amphibians!


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.



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Contact us

Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

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


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