“That’s one big pile of…”
On Saturday I went over to South Yorkshire to visit Carl and do what will mostly likely be my last local herping of 2012. The aim of the day was to find Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and at the first site on an industrial estate Carl flipped a sub adult under a piece of tin on an embankment. This fragmented population is only quite small so we were pleased to find at least one snake there. Moving on from there we drove east to a small quarry where we found a Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) under an old car mat, soon followed by a basking male Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara). Searching around a golf course we could only find an additional lizard despite golfers reporting to us their recent sightings of grass snakes around the area. Close by in a graveyard in the middle of a small village we found a further four Slow worms under stones around the edges of the old grave stones. A great example of how a tiny fragmented population can hold on even in the middle of an inhabited area. The final spot was by far the most productive, at a farm with a large pile of pig manure which had me uttering Jeff Goldblum’s famous lines from Jurassic Park a nice population of Grass snakes are able to lay their eggs. In fact we found a freshly hatched clutch and the uncovered three adult snakes under some tins, including a very large female. A final snake was found dead next to the pile of manure and I decided to preserve this specimen. But despite finding the dead snake it was a very enjoyable end to my 2012 local herping, and it actually remained sunny all day with temperatures around 18-20C.