Reptile survey course at FSC Juniper Hall

I felt I needed a refresher on reptile surveying to complement my volunteer work in North Wales, so I travelled down to the Field Studies Centre at Juniper Hall, near Dorking, Surrey, to spend a full day with Jon Cranfield and Jim Foster, expert tutors in reptile surveying and mitigation.

This was a great course, highly recommended for beginners and the more experienced alike.  The section on applying survey guidelines was particularly helpful – up until recently, most people have followed the Froglife guidance fairly consistently, but in fact the level of survey effort appropriate for a site will depend on a number of factors, such as the reptile species likely to be found, the habitat quality, area of suitable habitat on site, and time of year.  I now feel much more confident to plan reptile surveys and am awaiting the newly revised Natural England Reptile Survey Guidelines with anticipation instead of apprehension !

Here’s a photo of some of the local wildlife – the Roman Snail is quite common in the Box Hill area – I hadn’t seen one before but can fully understand why this species was introduced for food – they must be twice the size of your usual garden snail.  I wasn’t tempted, though – whilst anything tastes good with garlic butter on it, the Roman Snail is now a protected species.

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