Reptile Surveys

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Reptile in Hand
© Arbeco Ltd.


The UK has six native species of reptile. The slow-worm Anguis fragilis, common lizard Zootoca vivipara, grass snake Natrix natrix, and adder Vipera berus are widespread in the UK lowlands and considered relatively common, whereas the smooth snake Coronella austriaca and sand lizard Lacerta agilis are rare and have restricted distributions with specialist habitat requirements.

Reptiles in the UK occupy a wide variety of habitats in both urban and rural settings. Habitats include, grassland, woodland, heathland, allotments, residential gardens and even derelict land. Reptiles generally hibernate through the winter months from October to March when they emerge. Much of their time is spent either basking in sun spots, foraging for food or resting beneath logs and rocks or below ground in tunnels, holes, crevices or soil surface layers.

All reptiles are protected under UK law from intentional/reckless killing and injury.

© Arbeco Ltd.


Survey techniques include a visual check for reptiles basking in the open, a check for reptiles under existing sheltering/basking locations within a site or systematic searches of artificial refugia laid down across a site.

Artificial refugia used is normally corrugated metal sheets or bitumen roofing felt which are laid out in suitable reptile habitats. The materials heat up in the sunshine and provide reptiles with a warm surface to bask on or shelter under. The refugia are checked for reptiles after a settling period of two weeks.

When daytime temperatures are lower, reptiles will use the refugia more often than when it is warmer. Therefore, surveys carried out in spring and autumn tend to be more reliable than those carried out in summer. Seven separate artificial refugia checks during spring or autumn (in suitable weather conditions) would be sufficient to prove reptile presence or absence.

Reptile Translocation
Reptile Translocation © Arbeco Ltd.


If reptiles are present on site, mitigation measures should be put in place to minimise the risk of killing or injury of reptiles. Where possible, habitats suitable to support reptiles should be preserved and reptiles conserved in situ. If this is not feasible, reptiles may need to be relocated to suitable habitats close by.

If a translocation is recommended to mitigate for the loss of habitat, Arbeco Ltd can provide a complete service to install wildlife exclusion fencing if required.

Arbeco Ltd can carry out a reptile assessment to determining whether a proposed development may be affected by reptiles, and how to resolve any issues arising as swiftly and effectively as possible.

Surveys for reptiles are best carried out during a limited season each year, as shown in our Survey Calendar.

© Arbeco Ltd.

© Arbeco Ltd.

© Arbeco Ltd.

© Arbeco Ltd.

© Arbeco Ltd.

© Arbeco Ltd.

Contact us to discuss your site and requirements in more detail.

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