Send us your wildlife sightings

Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It is a way of helping us to monitor wildlife across the county to gain an understanding of an animal’s distribution. Your sightings can help us identify areas which are especially important for wildlife and identify species in decline or under threat.

Each season we ask you to help Norfolk's wildlife by sending us your sightings of three iconic species. You don't have to be an expert – all you need to do is tell us when and where you spot them. Use the form to record online, or phone or email us using the details below.

Our current total of wildlife records submitted for this survey are


39
Adder

14
Common Lizard

21
Grass Snake

Log your wildlife sightings here...

Sighting locations so far...


Key

Adder
Common Lizard
Grass Snake
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 begins 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.
Help us learn more about their distribution by submitting your reptile sightings this spring.
Adder
This enigmatic snake typically displays the vibrant zig-zag dorsal pattern along the length of...
Common Lizard
The common lizard is the UK’s most common and widespread reptile. It is the only reptile na...
Grass Snake
A slowly declining snake, which can vary in colour from greens, greys, browns and, occasionall...

Why do we want your adder sightings?

The adder is a greyish snake, with a dark and very distinct zig-zag pattern down its back, and a red eye. Males tend to be more silvery-grey in colour, while females are more light or reddish-brown. Black (melanistic) forms are sometimes spotted in Norfolk.

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.

The grass snake is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and a priority species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.



Why send us your common lizard sightings?

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).  Common lizard may be seen basking in the sunshine, as being cold-blooded they need to generate heat through the sun’s rays. They are found across many different habitats in Norfolk including heathland, woodland and grassland.  If you happen to be visiting the Broads, check out the tops of the boardwalks, as lizards can often be seen basking in a sunny spot at NWT Hickling Broad and RSPB Strumpshaw Fen.

Living up to its name, the common lizard is the UK's most common and widespread reptile, but it is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and a priority species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.


Why send us your grass snake records?

Grass snakes are one of two native snakes found in Norfolk, the other being the adder.  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. In warm weather they may be spotted basking in the sun near their favourite ponds or swimming in the water -  hence their other common name, the water snake.

The grass snake is usually greenish in colour, with a yellow and black collar, pale belly, and dark markings down the sides. Females are bigger than males. Very recently the British population of grass snake was found to belong to the distinct subspecies Natrix natrix helvetica, but new research published in August 2017 proposed that it should be elevated to full species status, with the name barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica.

The grass snake is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and a priority species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

Adder

  1.  Adders, like most reptiles, are shy and retiring. Bites mostly occur when people or animals touch the snakes.
  2. There have only been twelve deaths from adder bites in the last 100 years, whereas there are several deaths each year from insect stings and bites.
  3. Adders do not lay eggs but the females retain their eggs within their body and give birth to live young.
  4. Adders can, and do, swim.
  5. Although usually have clear markings, including the zig zag back stripe and black cross or v making on their head, they can be totally black. This colouring is called melanistic.

Common lizard

  1. Zootoca vivipara is the taxamonic name of the common lizard means live birth in Greek and Latin. The female lizard retains her eggs and gives birth to live young.
  2. Common lizards can flatten their body to the ground enabling them to absorb more of the sun’s rays.
  3. Common lizards are prey animals for many other species, as a protective measure they can shed their tails. The tails carry on wriggling and distract the predator so the lizard can escape. A new tail will grow but it will leave a scar and will be slightly shorter than the original.
  4. Common lizards shake their prey to stun it, making it easier to eat.
  5. To tell a male common lizard from a female you need to see the belly. The male has a bright yellow spotted belly whilst the female’s belly is pale.


Grass snake

  1. Britain’s only egg laying snake, the eggs are laid in rotting vegetable matter, including compost heaps.
  2. When the eggs hatch the young are miniature versions of the adults.
  3. Grass snakes are very good swimmers and can stay under water for up to half an hour.
  4. When they are threatened grass snakes pretend to be dead as this deters some predators. If this does not work, they hiss loudly and release a pungent smelling liquid from their anal gland.
  5. The grass snake’s black and yellow collar gives it the alternative name of ringed snake.

Download the reports on our previous surveys

   Brown-hare,-barn-owl-and-common-frog-survey-April,-May-and-June-2015 Download   
   Hedgehog,-House-Martin-and-Red-Admiral-Survey-August-2015 Download   
   Water-vole,-grass-snake-and-Himalayan-balsam-survey-July-2015 Download   
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Have you seen any other wildlife recently? We would love to hear about it... Notify us now

How to take part in this wildlife survey...

Online


The quickest way to take part is by clicking on the submit button below. You will then be asked: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By phone


Phone Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598333. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By e-mail


Send us an email to wild@norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

Take part today...