Dearne residents being urged to share their snaps of region's reptiles
People in the Dearne Valley are being urged to share their snaps of local reptiles as part of a large-scale survey of the creatures lurking in South Yorkshire's woods and grasslands.
The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP) has been gathering information on the reptilian residents of the Dearne Valley area since the start of the year, but is now calling for help from the public to look for more.
The aim is to build up an accurate picture of the numbers of lizards, slow worms and snakes which inhabit the local woodlands, grasslands, waterways, hedges, verges and shrubland.
Information from the survey will help to ensure the creatures are protected and preserved.
It is being led by Roseanna Burton, community officer at the DVLP, with support from European reptile expert John Newton.
Roseanna said: “We really need members of the public to let us know about any credible sightings of reptiles in the area, even if it is just their back garden, or a local site they visit.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the distribution of reptiles in the Dearne Valley so this will help us piece together a greater picture of where they live, meaning we can help ensure they are protected.
“With longer evenings and warmer weather, this is a great time of year for the public to get involved in the survey. The Dearne Valley is a beautiful place to explore, these reptiles are all harmless, and it’s amazing what you can find when you look hard enough.”
A group of volunteers have been taking part in organised surveys that are helping to fill gaps in data, but photos and sightings from members of the public are also needed to build a strong and accurate record of the types and numbers of reptiles around.
People are being asked to keep an eye out for the creatures in the Dearne Valley area. This extends from Barnsley town centre in the west to Conisbrough in the east and from Wentworth and Swinton in the south to Grimethorpe and Thurnscoe in the north. They are being encouraged to take photos and record where they are, when out and about on walks, jogs, bike rides – or even in their back garden.
The reptile survey has been organised through the DVLP which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is part of a wider environmental heritage project by DVLP, ‘Surveying the Dearne’.
REPTILES FACT BOX:
• There are three species of lizard in the UK – the Common Lizard, the Sand Lizard and the Slow-Worm (a type of legless lizard often mistaken for a snake). Of these three species, you are most likely to see Slow-Worms or common lizards in your garden.
• The UK’s rarest lizard, the Sand Lizard, tends only to be found in heathland or dune habitat and is unlikely to be seen at all in most gardens. • You are most likely to see Common Lizards or Slow-Worms (a leg-less lizard) as they are both widespread across the UK.
• For more information or to get involved with the survey please email DVLP@Barnsley.gov.uk or call 01226 787540.