Saving Scotland’s Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAAR) is a new and ambitious conservation initiative led by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC).

Funded by the RS MacDonald Trust, Bannister Charitable Trust, Hellvellyn Foundation and Thistledown Trust the project aims to address conservation and welfare needs and increase understanding of the country’s six amphibians and four reptiles over three years, involving Scotland’s communities in monitoring their populations and improving the habitats they call home.

ARC works in partnership with land managers, governmental organisations, NGO partners and local groups to protect species, and restore or create habitat features to allow native amphibians and reptiles to thrive in Scotland.

John McKinnell, NatureScot’s Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians Adviser said: “NatureScot has worked successfully with ARC on projects for many years. We welcome this project which will continue the momentum of amphibian and reptile conservation in Scotland to which ARC has been a key contributor.”

These resilient creatures, frogs, toads, newts, lizards and snakes, are under increasing threat from habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pollution and the spread of diseases They have long been our familiar friends in our gardens as well as our countryside, being found on the top of Munroes and basking in the heather and provide a vital indicator of how healthy our local environment is. However, there appear to be fewer sightings of adders and toads across Scotland, with the implications being that all our native species are facing some kind of population crises.

Janet Ullman, ARC’s Education Officer for Scotland, said ”Ten years ago, most primary school children I worked with had seen a frog or a toad, many saying how they saw them in their garden, in a park or even along the pavement. Today when I ask a class if they have seen a frog or toad less than half have. This is not only an urban problem, but appears to be a problem across Scotland. We need people to be aware that a silent spring is not only the loss of bird song, but also the loss of that chorus of croaking from our ponds and lochans.”

Rachael Cooper-Bohannon, ARC’s SSAAR Project Officer highlighted the importance of the citizen scientists in monitoring species. ”ARC is an evidence-based conservation organisation and we urgently need more people to record their sightings of amphibian and reptile species, to enable us to get a better picture of how Scotland’s amphibians and reptiles are doing and what priority actions are needed to help conserve them.”

Through SSAAR there will be a range of activities, talks and workshops for community groups and schools to help people appreciate their cold-blooded neighbours and to do simple things such as the provision of habitats in their gardens, as well as training and support for volunteer surveyors. The SSAAR project expands ARC’s work in Scotland by building on the charity’s previous Saving Scotland's Snakes and Great Crested Newt Detectives projects. 

Want to get invloved? Find out more about volunteering opportunities, events and news updates via the Saving Scotland's Amphibians and Reptiles project page and register your interest.

You can help SSAAR be a success!

The initial funding for SSAAR has come from Trusts and Foundations, and ARC is now asking for donations and fundraising volunteers from the public in order to continue the project until March 2024. The project now has its own dedicated fundraising page. If you would like to support this work please visit

There are three ways that you can help. Firstly by simply donating at this link – and if you would prefer to do so anonymously that’s not a problem! Secondly, by sharing the link with someone you know who cares about the conservation and welfare of amphibians and reptiles in Scotland. Thirdly, and perhaps the most fun option, is to use the link above to set up your own, linked JustGiving fundraising page and taking part in an event or personal challenge to fundraise for SSAAR. To do this simply go to the link above and click ‘Start fundraising’. Then you’ll see the screen as shown in the image, and choose how you’d like to fundraise for SSAAR. Examples include running a quiz, creating your own fitness challenge, setting up a gaming challenge, or taking part in sponsored event.   

Donate or fundraise today!

We are very grateful to our funders, The Helvellyn Foundation, The R S MacDonald Charitable Trust, The Bannister Charitable Trust and Thistledown Trust, who have made this project possible.