16 October 2014
The scientist leading Jersey’s Think Grass Snake campaign is calling on Islanders to report any reptile sightings over the next few weeks.
As the days get shorter and the temperature falls, Jersey’s reptiles will soon be searching for places to hibernate over the winter and may not appear again until March or April.
University of Kent researcher Rob Ward, whose work will be instrumental in the future conservation of Jersey’s grass snakes and slow worms, is asking people to send in any reports of grass snakes and slow-worm sightings this month (October) and to keep an eye out in spring for a number of reptiles turning up in the same spot.
Grass snakes and slow worms
The information will build a picture of where our rarest reptiles choose to hibernate. The loss of these sites can have a large effect on local reptile populations.
Mr Ward said “The more information we have about potential hibernation sites, the more we can do to protect these magnificent but elusive creatures. By recording where reptiles are spotted, we can work out where hibernation may be occurring as sightings start to tail off. Similarly in spring, the first sightings can alert us to the emergence of reptiles from hibernation.”
If you think you may have spotted any going into hibernation, please get in touch with the Think Grass Snake Campaign by calling 441628, or visiting www.ThinkGrassSnake.je/about
How to tell a possible hibernation spot
- Sites include old rock walls and earth banks, root systems, mammal burrows, piles of debris, and large grass tussocks.
- Hibernation spots are normally in areas that receive some sun to avoid very low winter temperatures.
- Many creatures will share a really good hibernation site and for slow-worms this may mean hundreds all using the same spot.