The latest herpetological research shows that snake populations could be following amphibians and lizards down a path to global declines. Further research is urgently needed to understand what is happening.

An important factor in the UK could be increasing isolation of populations through development and habitat loss, leading to genetic impoverishment. ARC is asking people to send in snake sloughs (shed skins) that they find in the UK. These sloughs will be used to build up a ‘Snake Genebank’ - a resource that can be used for long term studies into the effects of population isolation. DNA can be extracted from the sloughs, revealing much about the population in which the owner lives.

How you can help

If you find a snake (or slow-worm) slough anywhere in the UK, please send it to us using the following guidelines:

  • collect as much of the skin as you can, but it does not need to be entire to be useful
  • gently dry (pat with tissue paper) the skin, this will help it to last longer
  • record the accurate grid reference and place name of where you found the slough. If you find it in or near a garden, please give us the postcode aswell.
  • if you find more than one slough at the same site, please send them all to us if you can. Several samples from one site will be very useful
  • before placing each slough in a separate, dry paper envelope and sealing it, write on it:
  • which animal you think the slough is from
  • the location you found the slough
  • the date you found it
  • your name and contact details (especially email)
  • place this envelope (or envelopes) in another envelope marked ‘ARC Sliding Scales Genebank and post it to the Bournemouth office

Please note: If you collect more than one slough you MUST ensure that you keep them separate from the moment you collect them. Any contamination will compromise or invalidate the value of the slough.

To protect our native snakes we need to know exactly where they are. We need your help to build up a more detailed picture of their