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Adders, like most reptiles, are shy and retiring (photo by Paul Shaw) 2/4
Common lizards shake their prey to stun it, making it easier to eat (photo by Peter Dent) 3/4
When they are threatened grass snakes pretend to be dead (photo by Pat Adams) 4/4

Spring reptile survey to help protect species in Norfolk


Friday 01 March, 2019


Norfolk Wildlife Trust launches a new wildlife spotter survey to record sightings across Norfolk of adders, grass snakes and common lizards this spring.  

You don’t have to be an expert to make a valuable contribution to local knowledge of Norfolk’s wildlife. Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It helps NWT to understand an animal’s distribution across the county, and identify any areas particularly important or lacking in these species. All three reptiles in the survey are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and a “priority species” under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

Adders have a widespread distribution within Britain. They are scarce across much of East Anglia, but there are strongholds that exist along coasts and heaths. Heathland habitat has declined in Norfolk and it is likely that with the loss of this habitat, adders have also declined in numbers and range.

Our largest snake, the grass snake, is particularly fond of wetland habitats, but can also be found in dry grasslands and in gardens, especially those with a pond nearby. It is usually greenish in colour, with a yellow and black collar, pale belly, and dark markings down the sides.

The common lizard is one of two species of lizard found in Norfolk, the other being the slow worm (which although snake-like is actually a legless lizard). They are found across many different habitats in Norfolk including heathland, woodland and grassland. Living up to its name, the common lizard is the UK's most common and widespread reptile.

Head of People and Wildlife at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, David North said: “This March, April and May we are asking people to share their wildlife sightings of three amazing reptiles found in Norfolk: adder, grass snake and common lizard. After hibernating through the winter, reptiles begin to emerge in spring as the weather starts to warm, basking in the spring sunshine. Of course reptiles are very elusive, and often will disappear from sight before you have even seen them, so when trying to spot reptiles you have to move slowly and quietly. If you are lucky enough to see an adder, grass snake or common lizard please remember not to disturb them and definitely do not attempt to pick them up.”

Add your sightings to the map!

To share your sighting, we will need to know what species you saw, where you saw it: try and be as specific as possible, when you saw it, and who you are.

Sightings can be submitted easily online, where you will also be able to see a distribution map of all the sightings submitted so far. You can also phone your wildlife sighting to Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598 333.
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