Few people in Britain have heard of the smooth snake, which is our rarest native reptile and is only found on the heathlands of Southern England. We know little about its ecology and behaviour as it is a timid and secretive creature, choosing to bask within thick heather vegetation and burrow out of sight. For this reason, the species has been very difficult to study and conserve. This snake has character, charm and beauty - its value to our heritage and the habitat in which it lives is irreplaceable.

Supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (ARC) are leading a brand-new project called “Snakes in the Heather”. This ambitious project aims to conserve the smooth snake throughout its range and is currently in its design phase, starting officially in 2019.   

In order to conserve the smooth snake, we must first know where this elusive species lives. We are planning a systematic reptile survey and monitoring programme to find where the animals are present and work out how best to protect them. To achieve this, we will train an army of ‘Reptile Survey Volunteers’ to find smooth snakes on heathlands throughout Southern England. The Snakes in the Heather project will…

  • Employ two ARC Project Officers - to manage our programme and oversee the training and mentoring of our community ‘Reptile Survey Volunteers’.
  • Purchase essential survey equipment
  • Carry out research – we will analyse all the data collected to guide our survey programme, map smooth snake distribution, and help us to better understand their ecology.
  • Promote reptiles - the smooth snake is a Flagship species, acting as an ambassador for conservation of all our reptiles and heathland fauna and flora. We are planning a varied four year programme of outreach and events throughout Southern England to tell people more about the smooth snake and highlight its plight.
  • Protect smooth snakes - we will work closely with landowners and managers, using our work to support and inform the best habitat management practices. We will also fight to ensure that there is continued protection for our reptile and amphibian species in changing political times.

Help us to safeguard the smooth snake for the future by completing our Community Survey: We would like to hear from anyone living in Great Britain who has an interest in wildlife - If you might like to get involved in the project you can tell us that too!

We have over £250 worth of prizes up for grabs! Please provide your name and contact details at the end of the questionnaire for a chance to win one of these great prizes…

You can also help by making a donation to smooth snake conservation