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Ecologists undertake a whole host of surveys through the year including reptile surveys. These surveys are required when suitable habitat is present on a site, and this habitat is likely to be impacted by the proposals. Suitable habitats that would prompt the need for reptile surveys could include, scrub, heathland, grassland, marshy grassland, woodland and watercourses.
In 2016, the ecologists had reptile surveys to complete in a range of different places across the UK including Worcestershire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire.
Some of our surveys recorded no reptiles at all, however the majority identified grass snakes. Grass snakes were the most commonly recorded reptiles (being recorded on 5 of the 7 surveyed sites), with common lizards being the only other reptile we recorded during the surveys (recorded on 2 of the 7 sites). All stages of grass snakes were recorded throughout the year. Our favourites are the juveniles as when you pick these up they tend not to defecate all over you!
Grass snakes are an important species (listed on a number of local biodiversity action plans (BAPs)) and are protected under UK law against injury and killing. At Pleydell Smithyman Limited, we strive to ensure that the projects we work on help to create a better network of habitats for grass snakes (and other protected species), to provide suitable habitat that is linked into the wider landscape.
We look forward to finding out which reptile species will be the most popularly recorded throughout 2017! Will grass snakes win again, or could another species take over this year?!