We use some essential cookies to make this website work.
We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use forestresearch.gov.uk, remember your settings and improve our services.
Preparing to search
The reptiles and amphibians are often considered together as a single group (sometimes called the herptiles). They are cold-blooded vertebrates.
Species of reptiles and amphibians provide opportunities for education and community engagement in urban greenspace. Many species are protected by law. Actions are recommended to maintain habitats suitable for reptiles and amphibians in urban greenspace.
Most reptile sites are large areas on the urban fringe – a viable population needs a lot of space. Heathland areas are particularly good, although adders have been found on allotment gardens.
Reptiles need basking areas. These can be maintained by mowing or soil disturbance. In the case of adders, it is quite important that basking areas are not also key picnic or play spots (bites can be very painful, although they are seldom fatal).
Reptiles also need shelter. Pieces of corrugated iron make very good shelters, as do piles of brush. Again, in the case of adders these should not be near where people (especially children) will easily notice them.
Reptiles and amphibians will only colonise a new greenspace if there is a nearby population to supply immigrating individuals. Opportunities may exist to gain colonists from a species translocation programme where habitat will be destroyed elsewhere.
Amphibians need water bodies that do not dry out before the end of May. The water (e.g. a pond) needs to be still (not running), free of coarse fish, and have a bank that slopes gently out of the water so that amphibians can climb out.
Amphibians also need damp, sheltered places to hibernate in winter, and a plentiful supply of tasty slugs and snails (which also benefit from damp places). Frogs in urban and suburban areas rely almost entirely on garden ponds.
Forest Research’s Habitats and Rare, Priority and Protected Species (HaRPPS) – database for forest managers containing information about reptiles’ and amphibians’ habitat requirements.
Natterjack toads have a very restricted distribution in UK. One of their remaining sites is the Ministry of Defence site at Woolmer Forest, on the outskirts of Bordon in Hampshire. On emerging from the ponds as toadlets, they like to bury in soft sand to escape predators. At Woolmer (and many other sites), sand kicked out of burrows by rabbits provides the perfect refuge. Managing rabbit numbers in the face of myxomatosis, rabbit haemorrhagic disease and other local factors is therefore especially important to the conservation of natterjack toads. (This research was not performed by Forest Research).
Forest Research open-habitats staff can provide advice and consultancy services on habitat management, and our hydrology staff on creating water bodies suitable for amphibians. Forest Research also has extensive experience in managing rabbits to protect herptiles such as smooth snakes and sand lizards.
Cookies are files saved on your phone, tablet or computer when you visit a website.
We use 3 types of cookie. You can choose which cookies you're happy for us to use.
These essential cookies do things like remember your progress through a form. They always need to be on.
We use Google Analytics to measure how you use the website so we can improve it based on user needs. Google Analytics sets cookies that store anonymised information about: how you got to the site the pages you visit on forestresearch.gov.uk and how long you spend on each page what you click on while you're visiting the site
Some forestresearch.gov.uk pages may contain content from other sites, like YouTube or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. These sites are sometimes called ‘third party’ services. This tells us how many people are seeing the content and whether it’s useful.