Arnold Cooke is well known to many in the herpetological world. Both a prominent professional ecologist, and a highly-regarded amphibian specialist, he has worked with amphibians for many years. Most famously he has conducted the UK's longest-standing study of common toads and the effect of road mortality on their populations.
The current hot weather is making reptiles difficult to spot. In hot weather, reptiles don't need to spend much time basking, and we lose our best chance of seeing them.
As we enter the month of June - the beginning of summer in climatic terms - we can look back on a spring that has been the warmest and driest for many years. Reptiles in the UK have undoubtedly benefited from this warm weather, which has set them a few steps ahead in the annual cycles, in terms of breeding, lifestage, and phenology.
Numbers of Britain’s rarest lizard, the sand lizard, are increasing in parts of southern England - possibly due to climate change.
Researchers are investigating adder populations in southern England to see if they are suffering from genetic bottlenecking. This can occur when populations become too small, and low gene flow means they are not enriched by sharing of mutations between numerous individuals.
The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust has released a landmark report compiling the first three years of results from its nationwide widespread species surveys. The results are worrying. Adders seem to be declining fast, and were recorded from only 7% of sites surveyed. Toads, newts, lizards, and in fact all species seem to be declining, except for palmate newt.
The current spell of warm and sunny weather is showing signs of becoming a longer phase of unseasonably mild weather, and the term 'Indian Summer' is already being banded about. With several days of sunny weather forecast ahead, daily air temperatures are expected to exceed 20°C.