The Reptile and Amphibian Group for Somerset(RAGS) was inaugurated in 1994 as a specialist group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust and forms part of the national ARG-UK network.
The group aims to protect and promote the interests of the county’s snakes, lizards, newts, frogs and toads. RAGS members can provide expertise for a variety of advisory and educational purposes and keeps enthusiasts in contact with one another, building up information for practical purposes.
What we do:
- Surveying and recording reptile and amphibian populations across the county - Every year RAGS conducts Adder surveys across the Quantocks hills to map their distribution and identify hibernacula! This year we are also reaching out to the Mendips and the Blackdown hills. Also we do night surveys of great crested newts on both known and potential sites.
- Survey training workshops - We are keen to get our volunteers out there enjoying our local reptiles and amphibians, so we provide training days and continual support for surveying techniques and identification.
- Field meetings
- Interesting and inspiring talks - A range of talks throughout the year covering subjects such as identification, behaviour, ecology, conservation, reptile and amphibian diseases.
- Visits to reptile and amphibian sites both within the county and further afield.
- Advising the public on all aspects of reptile and amphibian conservation, including snakes in the garden - Many people are unaware of the reptiles and amphibians all around them, and what they can do to help them. There are also a lot of people who are scared to have snakes in their garden due to the way they are portrayed in the media. We try to advise people to make their land more herp friendly!
- Practical conservation - RAGS also help the public in the practical side of managing their land in site of helping our local herps. Recently we have been involved in pond clearing during the winter at various places across Somerset ready for the amphibians to come back for breeding in the spring!
- Organising Toad patrols -During the breeding season Toads make their Journey to their favoured ponds to breed, this can be dangerous as it often means crossing busy roads, where a lot of them don’t make it! So we set up night patrols to try and control traffic to give the toads a better chance of survival.
A lot of this would not be possible without the help of volunteers and enthusiasts! If you want to be involved in any of this then feel free to drop us an e-mail and we will add you to the mailing list for regular updates.
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