Warwickshire Amphibian & Reptile Team
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram

About us

About Us

We are dedicated to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Warwickshire. We aim to encourage people to learn about, protect and conserve these animals and their habitats. Our activities include recording the distribution and population size of amphibians and reptiles throughout Warwickshire. Conservation work such as pond restoration, workshops and training days, talks and visits, providing advice on pond and habitat conservation and identifying threats to local habitats.

WART works in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the Warwickshire Biological Records Centre (WBRC) and Amphibian & Reptile Groups UK (ARG UK). Data is collected throughout the county of the numbers of amphibians and reptiles, recording numbers, species, location etc. This information is then submitted to the WBRC after validation where you can request a data search.

A programme of events is organised for members on herpetological issues, including workshops, informative talks, and also survey and habitat management work.

The WART Newsletter is now only available electronically.

What Can You Do To Help?

If you know of any sites where you have seen any species of amphibians or reptiles then please let us know. Up to date records are always needed to enable us to map the herpetofauna in Warwickshire. Please submit any records to recordswart@gmail.com or use the form on the "Record your Sightings" tab above.

Identification of the different species is critical in mapping a true record of species distribution and population density.

If you would like to enrol as a member of the Warwickshire Amphibian & Reptile Team, please contact Alex at alexanderjones1111@gmail.com.

More Information about some of Warwickshire's Amphibians and Reptiles:

The Adder

Local status and distribution

The Adder is rare in Warwickshire and only occurs at a few known sites in the county making up only 5% of the total reptile records. In Victorian times the Adder was described as not abundant in the county, being absent from alluvial areas and mainly found in sandy or stony places.


The Adder is a small, stout snake with a distinctive continuous zigzag on the back. It has a well defined head compared to the grass snake and rarely grows longer than 65cm (2 feet). Body colour is variable, males are usually grey or buff with a black zigzag whereas females are brown with a dark brown zigzag. The Adder is the only native snake having elliptical, as opposed to round pupils. Occasionally black (melanistic) Adders are found but none have been reported in Warwickshire.


The Adder is typically found in heathland and moorland but in Warwickshire it is associated with railway embankments, rough grassland and scrub. Male snakes are the first to come out of hibernation, females emerging a couple of weeks later. Mating takes place in April and early May and is often preceded by a ritualistic behaviour pattern by the males, who dance with each other in a trial of strength to gain access to the female who is often in the near vicinity. Female Adders do not breed every year because they need at least one intervening year to feed up and regain breeding condition. Once pregnant they cease to feed for the 3 to 4 month gestation period whilst the embryos develop inside the body. Six to twenty young are born alive, usually by the beginning of September.

The Adder is Britain's only venomous snake and uses venom for catching prey, usually small mammals and lizards. They are very timid animals and usually move away quickly when disturbed, but will bite in defence if trodden upon or handled. If bitten, medical assistance should be sought, but statistically one stands more chance of dying from a bee or wasp sting than an Adder bite.

Protection status

Some protection under the Berne Convention as to their exploitation.
Protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 5. from trade, injury and killing.

The Common or Viviparous Lizard

Local status and distribution

The Common lizard has a limited distribution in Warwickshire and is absent from many parts of the county. However it is Warwickshire's second most common reptile accounting for 26% of the total reptile records. The Common lizard was not abundant in Victorian times but the existence of several colonies at the foot of Edgehill, a common near Claverdon and the stone walls around the Priory in Warwick had been reported. It is interesting to note that in the 1901 Victoria County History of Warwickshire it is stated that the Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) had been observed at two places on the Ridgeway near Alcester and that it was rare at these localities. Whether these were genuine sightings or that Common lizards were mistaken for Sand lizards cannot be confirmed but there are no later reports of Sand lizards for the county.


Common lizards can be mistaken for newts but are more alert and quick moving if disturbed. They also have a dry scaly skin. Common lizards can reach a length of 18cm (7 inches) but this is rare and most are much smaller. They are variable in colour ranging from brown or yellow-brown to almost green. These green Common lizards should not be confused with Sand lizards. Male Common lizards often have darker backs with a broken striped pattern and a variable number of pale dots edged with black called ocelli. They have yellow or orange bellies which are spotted. with black markings. The female is paler, with a few scattered ocelli and some females have a continuous stripe along the centre of the back. The belly is pale yellow, usually lacking spots. The most reliable method for distinguishing between the sexes is to look for the swelling at the base of the tail in the male. Young Common lizards are very dark coloured compared to the adults and have two rows of pale spots down their back.


The majority of sightings have been on grassland, hedgerows, woodland edges, road and railway embankments. Common lizards emerge from hibernation sometimes as early as mid- February if the weather is mild. Initially they will spend long periods basking and they start to mate in April and May. The males are territorial and compete for the females, fights being commonplace. The eggs are retained in the body and 4-10 live young are born under cover, in late July or August in a membranous sac. The young lizard ruptures the membrane with a special egg-tooth and is independent of the mother. Common lizards eat a variety of insect and other invertebrate species.

Protection status

Some protection under the Berne Convention as to their exploitation.
Protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 5. from trade, injury and killing.

The Grass Snake

Local status and distribution

The Grass snake is widespread throughout the county. It is the most common reptile species in the county constituting 58% of the total reptile records for the county. Many of these Grass snake records are chance encounters with fewer breeding sites recorded and it is the only snake found in populated areas. In Victorian times it was described as being a common and generally distributed species.


The Grass snake is the largest native snake, the males reaching up to 90cm (3 feet) in size. Mature females can be up to 150cm (5 feet) long, but it is rare for females to reach this size. Colouration is variable and grass snakes are usually a shade of olive green, but brown and grey snakes are not uncommon. Their bodies bear fine black vertical bars and/or spots running along their sides. It has a characteristic orange, yellow or white collar round the neck.


Grass snakes are found in a variety of habitats throughout the county but they tend to prefer habitats associated with water where they feed on amphibians and fish. Grass snakes start to emerge from hibernation in March and April and mating soon occurs. The grass snake is the only native snake to lay eggs. This takes place in June/July in piles of vegetation, manure and compost heaps where the warmth from decomposition helps to incubate the 10 - 40 eggs laid. Often several females can share the same egg-laying site and the young snakes hatch in August/September. Grass snakes are completely harmless to humans, but if disturbed or handled can bite and exude a nasty-smelling secretion from their anal gland.

Protection status

Some protection under the Berne Convention as to their exploitation.
Protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 5. from trade, injury and killing.



WART winter talk and AGM

Posted on Saturday 5th January, 2019

The WART winter talk and AGM is at 7pm on 17th January 2018 at Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve.

Come along to hear our talk 'Toad-in-the-hole. The practicalities of rescuing amphibians from road drains' followed by the AGM.
WART have been rescuing amphibians by hand from sites in Warwickshire and Solihull where large numbers of frogs, toads and newts are found trapped in gully pots after falling into road drains. We will talk about some of the challenges the group have encountered when accessing the drains and installing amphibian ladders and their observations so far. Amphibian escape ladders are being used here as a last resort: Ultimately we will need to change the way we design road drainage schemes to prevent this problem from contributing to the decline of amphibian species.
The meeting will be at 7pm at the Barn, Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, CV3 3GW. Light refreshments will be provided.
All welcome. The event is free but any donations will be appreciated.

Wart in the media with amphibian ladders

Posted on Friday 16th November, 2018

Wart have recently been in the local, national and international media with our amphibian ladders project.

The local papers and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio picked it up first but then we had an email from Reuters who wanted to cover it:


Since then we have had enquiries and questions from as far afield as Canada and Korea and have been on various media outlets on radio, TV and online.

Ultimately this all helps to bring the plight of our amphibians in gulley pots to a much wider audience and hopefully they will be less out of sight and more in mind.

Newsletter 2018

Posted on Tuesday 21st August, 2018

Please click on the link below to open our latest newsletter.


WART AGM and talk by Nigel Hand

Posted on Wednesday 4th January, 2017

The next WART meeting is the AGM and will be taking place on Thursday 19th January 2017 at 7:30pm in the Barn at Brandon Marsh Nature Centre, Coventry CV3 3GW.  

Nigel Hand a well known adder expert from Herefordshire Amphibian & Reptile Group will be talking to us at the meeting.  His talk is called The Vanishing Viper - Tracking Adders.  Nigel's work with adders was also featured in the July 2016 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine.

The talk will encompass all Nigel has learnt about adders through radio telemetry projects working with various conservation bodies in central and southern England.

We do hope you will be able to come along. We''re not charging admission but donations would be appreciated. If you could register your interest in attending that would be useful so we know how many will be coming.

WART also needs amphibian and reptile recorders for the 2017 survey programme.  We will provide the training and support, so if you are interested please get in touch.

Amphibian ladder trial

Posted on Monday 5th September, 2016

On a rainy night in early March 2015, WART members went to check out roads in Balsall Common for amphibians and found approximately 20 common frogs and around 10 smooth newts on the roads, many of them sadly run over while migrating back to their breeding ponds. From talking with residents, about 20 years ago there were many more frogs crossing Meeting House Lane in spring, but apparently numbers have been decreasing in recent years. Several of the amphibians were found trapped in the gully pots along the roads in the area, including Sunnyside Lane and Barretts Lane as well as Meeting House Lane. 

Gully pots are necessary for road maintenance; however they can be death traps for amphibians. Each year large numbers of amphibians, both adults and juveniles, fall into gully pots and die through starvation or by drowning in the drainage system.  There are over 17 million in England alone and they trap other animals apart from amphibians including small mammals and birds.

We were aware of 'Enkamat', a strong material used to prevent soil erosion on steep banks, and had recently purchased a roll from the Sussex ARG.  Enkamat is an open weave material which has been used as an escape "ladder" fitted to road drains and other gullypots where amphibians are known to get trapped. It can also be used in swimming pools and other vertical sided tanks, lagoons etc.  With thanks to Highways at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for allowing us to do so, we installed amphibian ladders to approximately 20 road drains during March.  We then monitored the use of the ladders (as far as possible when time allowed) until October.  Common frogs were the most commonly found species by far, with small numbers of smooth newt, great crested newt and common toad also seen on the roads or in the gullies.  We found a breeding hotspot at the end of Barretts Lane where there is a large garden pond, together with two wet ditches along a public footpath where breeding frogs and great crested newts were seen.

After installation of the ladders we found a total of 31 amphibians, 19 of which were found in gullies with a ladder installed and 12 in gullies with no amphibian ladder. Although the results are not conclusive, on a positive note we observed on four occasions (including ongoing checks this year) common frogs and smooth newts crawling up the Enkamat which is good evidence it is successful. It should also be noted that the ladders were targeted to gullypots where they had been found previously and perhaps more likely to have fallen in. Amphibian ladders have also been shown to work in detailed studies undertaken in the Netherlands and Angus, Scotland.  However as there is no way of knowing how many amphibians had previously escaped from these gullies it is unfortunately difficult to measure success of the trial and we would need further survey with daily checks and more resources to fully establish this.

We're looking for volunteer gully pot surveyors for next spring – please get in touch! Training will be provided and no previous experience needed – contact us via recordswart@gmail.com.

Overall given that amphibians were seen using the Enkamat we believe that it is a sign of success and we are planning on carrying on the trial next year, hopefully by replacing some of the ladders with a newly designed amphibian ladder by the British Herpetological Society. 

Please look out for amphibians on the roads in spring and report your sightings!  Thanks to WART members who have been monitoring newly recorded toad crossing sites in Norton Lindsey, Snitterfield and Edstone this year. Volunteer surveyors needed to help toads on roads next spring in these and other areas – please contact recordswart@gmail.com.

For more info see:

Froglife website: www.froglife.org/what-we-do/toads-on-roads

ARG UK website: www.arguk.org/saving-amphibians-in-drains

BHS website: www.thebhs.org/index.php?option=com_tienda&view=products&task=view&id=4&filter_category=2&Itemid=36



Show Past Events

This user currently doesn't have any posts.

Contact us

Contact Us

c/o Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Brandon Marsh Nature Centre
Brandon Lane
Warwickshire CV3 3GW

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.

Latest News

© Warwickshire Amphibian & Reptile Team
Website hits: 24901

Forgot Login?