Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) is today raising awareness of the UK’s six native reptile species on Reptile Awareness Day  by offering a free resource pack to the public.

Three snake species are native to the UK - the adder, grass snake and smooth snake. We are also home to three types of lizard - the common lizard, sand lizard and slow-worm. Although small and often over-looked, these reptiles are important elements of our heathland, grassland and wetland habitats.

ARC, based in Dorset, manages over 80 nature reserves across Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, Norfolk, Wales and Cumbria. It works tirelessly to halt and reverse the decline in Britain’s thirteen native amphibians and reptiles species nationally.

ARC strives to save the rare sand lizard by managing habitats, advising landowners and reintroducing the reptiles to areas where they have been lost. It has also recently launched two major projects - “Connecting the Dragons” in South Wales and “Snakes in the Heather” across Southern England, both supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Fast facts:

  • Female common lizards give birth to live young in the summer.
  • Male sand lizards, which are only found on heathland and sand dunes, turn bright green in the spring to attract females.
  • The slow-worm is sometimes mistaken for a snake but is in fact a legless lizard. Snakes cannot close their eyes, but if you look closely at a slow-worm you will see it blink!
  • In the spring, male adders, Britain’s only venomous snake, wrestle or “dance” to win a mate.
  • The grass snake, Britain’s largest snake at 70-150cm, feigns death when threatened by predators. It does this by lying upside down, sticking out its tongue and releasing an unpleasant smell.
  • Britain’s rarest and most secretive snake, the smooth snake, is only found on certain heathlands in the south of England.

Whether you have developed a fascination with our native ‘dragons’ or are in awe of snakes, there are many ways to support ARC’s work, including joining as an ARC Friend, volunteering or sponsoring a speciesContact us to request a free ‘Reptile Resource Pack’ which contains illustrated species wall-charts, identification guides and top tips on how to help reptiles in our own gardens.