Reptiles and Amphibians today
How are environmental and habitat changes
affecting reptiles and amphibians?
Distribution maps can give some indication of where they live
today. But plotting changes in the populations of all reptiles and
amphibians in Wales is difficult without comprehensive, detailed
What has caused population decline?
- Some of the changes that have probably affected these species
and their habitats include:
- Pond loss. We know from old maps that many ponds have been
filled in throughout Wales. This would impact amphibians.
- Agricultural intensification and forestry. This has caused
habitat loss for reptiles and amphibians.
- Abandonment of land leading to scrub development, pond
overgrowth and shading of basking sites.
- The fragmentation of suitable breeding and feeding habitat.
This can be caused by changes in habitat management, habitat loss
and physical separation by new roads.
The goal of all reptile and amphibian conservation should be to
strike a balance between overgrazing or under-management, and
maintaining a mosaic of habitat types.
What do development projects and surveys tell us about the
distribution of species?
New havens for the newt?
They reveal that crested newts are appearing in places we
previously didn’t expect them.
The post industrial landscapes of northeast and south Wales,
where water bodies have been created by mining and quarrying, have
proved to be havens for this newt. However, subsequent development
pressure for landfill and housing means that these sites are now
under threat and are disappearing.
The Valleys welcome slow worms and common lizards
Surveys prior to development projects in the south Wales Valleys
have revealed large populations of slow worms and common lizards
which have to be accommodated during site clearances.
National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS)
The Herpetological Conservation Trust in partnership with, among
others, CCW, is working on the development of this project. We hope
that funding will allow us to use volunteer effort and targeted
surveys to maintain a watch on the distribution and abundance of
all the UK’s reptile and amphibian species. For more information
keep an eye out on the HCT