SARG Reptile Surveys
Widespread Reptile Fixed Infrastructure Survey: SARG have established around 90 reptile survey sites, with access and survey permissions pre-arranged, and refugia laid in a manner that best supports the generation of habitat management plans and reptile detection. This survey provides statistical control to help us understand the status of reptiles across the county, and offers fantastic training facilities.
Rare Reptile Fixed Infrastructure Survey: Used for similar purposes to the widespread sites, SARG has an additional 13 sites that support rare reptile species. Survey of these sites requires additional training, experience of widespread reptile survey and licensing
Pathfinder Reptile Survey: Pathfinder sites have no refugia laid, and rely on superior visual survey skills. These are ephemeral sites which are created to help fill in the known county-wide distribution for reptile species. Only our best surveyors are used for this activity.
Emergence Reptile Surveys: These tend to be group surveys, actioned in the early spring. The aim is to detect adder hibernacula, although other species will also be found. Visual survey transects are created, informed by early in year sighting records.
Sand Lizard Burrow Surveys: Conducted in June, these surveys look for test-burrows and egg-laying burrows created by sand lizards. This information supports habitat management plans and the rotavation work carried out by the ARC Trust.
SARG Amphibian Surveys
Surrey Pond Survey: Around 7,000 ponds have been mapped across Surrey. All or any of these ponds could support amphibian breeding. Our goal is to survey as many of these ponds as possible. Due to the large number of ponds, fast survey approaches are required, usually nocturnal torching.
Toad Patrols: This activity bridges the gap between wildlife rescue and survey. Recording the number of toads at the various road crossings in Surrey helps us build up trend analysis, helping to understand the status of the common toad.
Natterjack Toad Transects: Night time, torchlit transects walked in natterjack territory have proven very successful in finding natterjack toads at the two sites in Surrey supporting this rare animal.
Surveying determines the likely presence or absence of a species at a given site. Without this knowledge, all other conservation activities are severely hampered. We need to know where the animals are present, in order to protect them.
Repeated surveys can start to build up a picture of species' distributions over time. This is the point where surveying starts to become a monitoring activity. Ideally monitoring should include population estimates, and record how the size of these populations varies over time. Such information allows us to determine when conservation measures are working, and helps to identify threats to populations at an early stage.
The UK has an area of about 250,000 square kilometers, and only a few dozens of volunteer surveyors. In order to achieve anything close to an accurate image of where herpetofauna is present, public involvement is vital. This is why your sightings are important !
The National Amphibian and Recording Scheme (NARRS) is a new national initiative which aims to pull together survey information from across the country. County ARGs such as SARG will provide vital inputs to the NARRS database. All Surrey sightings will contribute to this goal, and the animals will benefit from better targeting of conservation effort.
Survey of amphibians and reptiles in Surrey:
Every sighting record of an amphibian or reptile within Surrey is important to us. The basic, essential information is the date and place of the sighting. An Ordnance Survey grid-reference is ideal, but an address or postcode will do. A photograph of the animal, even if taken with a mobile phone will help enormously, as it allows us to positively identify the animal, and add confidence to the sighting.
Records of sightings should be sent to:
Rick Anstis (County recorder),
Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group,
7 Arundel Road,
Surrey RH4 3HY
Should you wish to become more involved with the structured survey effort within Surrey, please approach any of the people listed on the contacts page. More comprehensive survey of herpetofauna requires a good deal of contextual information, designed to increase our knowledge of these fascinating animals. An example structured survey sheet can be found by clicking this link.