The Herpetofauna of Wiltshire

The Herpetofauna of Wiltshire highlights the importance of Wiltshire’s populations of amphibians and reptiles and the landscapes that support them. Wiltshire offers diverse habitats for each of the common and widespread species in the UK, ranging from the ponds of the clay vales for great crested newt, the wetlands of the Cotswold Water Park for toad and grass snake, the ephemeral ponds of the Salisbury Plain chalk plateau for common toad and great crested newt, and the chalk hilltops for common lizard.

This atlas is the first document in the county to promote our amphibians and reptiles and the importance of the habitats that they need. It brings together records held by WSBRC and data from online sources (such as the National Biodiversity Network, the NBN). We hope to use this to encourage greater participation in survey and monitoring as well as to promote wildlife-friendly gardening and landscape-scale habitat management.

Wiltshire supports the four species of native common & widespread reptiles found in the UK; slow worm, common lizard, grass snake and adder, as well as five species of native amphibian; common frog, common toad, smooth newt, palmate newt and great crested newt. At least three non-native species have been recorded including American bullfrog, Alpine newt and red-eared terrapin. It is hoped that this document will stimulate further recording and that greater effort will result in the discovery of new breeding sites and new species in the county.

Of particular importance are the vast number of gardens and wildlife ponds, scattered throughout the county in towns and villages, in supporting species such as slow worm, grass snake, common frog and smooth newt, as well as a whole host of other wildlife such as hedgehogs, dragonflies and bats. Wildlife-friendly gardening offers huge opportunities to support our wildlife, whether creating ponds and compost heaps or providing boxes for birds, bats and solitary bees.

Over 10,000 records, covering the period 1996 to 2017, have been included in the atlas, offering the most up-to-date assessment of the county’s herpetofauna to date. As well as highlighting the core range of the native species, this work also aids the identification of gaps in knowledge and distribution to prioritise and direct future survey effort. It also highlights the potential to promote national and local recording schemes to volunteers and community groups to feed monitoring data towards national conservation efforts.

The atlas can be downloaded, free-of-charge from the WSBRC website.

Download the atlas

This publication has been supported by Wiltshire Natural History Publications Trust, whose grant supported the map production and data management by WSBRC. Huge thanks are extended to the many other contributors, including members of Wiltshire Amphibian & Reptile Group and other recorders and consultant ecologists across the county.

This publication was supported throughout by the membership of Wiltshire Amphibian & Reptile Group. For further information, and to join the group, please visit their website.

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