Reptile field day :-)

Finally after what seems to have been a long and troublesome winter, (by troublesome I mean in terms of allowing me to get out and see herps) I had a full day blessed with sunshine and little wind to search for some lizards and snakes. I spent the day out exploring with Andrew Gray , the curator of Herpetology (and my boss) at the Manchester museum. Upon arriving at some nice moorlands our expectations were very high as the weather conditions were pretty much perfect. Minutes after starting our hike we came across the first few Viviparous lizards (Zootoca vivipara), including some juveniles and a nice green coloured female. Sadly I wasn’t really on form in terms of lizard photographing and didn’t get any nice photographs. After about an hour we were lucky to find a small female Adder (Vipera berus) that was basking amongst the heather.

Last year we had many male adders in this area, but this year we only saw one, and we came to the conclusion that some parts of this moor have been heavily disturbed by large groups of people, who were probably looking for reptiles. After seeing a few more lizards we moved on to a different area with the hope of seeing a few more snakes. In fact the first animal we saw was not a reptile, but an amphibian: a female Common toad (Bufo bufo) which was walking (not hopping!) down a path towards her breeding pond. After a few minutes searching we came across a very beautiful female adder, which was a copper brown colour and one of the largest I have seen. In the evening we were joined by my friend Carl Corbidge and we went to a nice pond to enjoy the even chorus of breeding Common toads (Bufo bufo) 🙂

Larger female Adder (Vipera berus)

Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) who lost his tail at some point

By Matt Wilson

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