Amphibians and Reptiles

The UK is home to only 13 native species of amphibians and reptiles with a number of introduced species also present in some areas. Dawlish Warren is similarly impoverished with six native species recorded plus the introduced population of Sand Lizard.

Related Link: Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust

Page last updated 03/10/21

Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara
This widespread species can be encountered almost anywhere on site, but is most frequently encountered along the Dune Ridge and other areas of bare sand, although numbers appear to be in decline. Some bright green individuals have been wrongly reported as Sand Lizard in the past. The predation of this species by Kestrels has been noted in some years.

© Lee Collins

Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis
This nationally rare species was introduced to the site by the Herpetological Conservation Trust in the mid 1990s with support from English Nature's Species Recovery Project. Although not native to the site, the species is found in similar habitats in Dorset and Lancashire, individuals from Dorset populations were released here. The species is now well established and is the most likely lizard species to be encounted on site The predation of this species by Kestrels has been noted in some years. This species is fully protected by law and it is an offence to disturb them in any way.

© Simon Thurgood

Slow-worm Anguis fragilis
This species was regular onsite  but by 1992 it had not been seen for several years. There were no further records until 2007. A record in spring 2007 was followed by one along the Back Path in July 2007. They proved to be regular in this area and are also present on the Golf Course. Numbers appear to be in decline.

© Simon Thurgood

Adder Vipera berus
The only confirmed record for this species in the Recording Area was during Summer 2005, when one was seen along the Dune Ridge by those monitoring the Sand Lizards. This is the only snake record for the Warren.

[Common Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus
A common species of eastern North America that is often kept as a pet. One that had been illegally released was seen and soon removed from the Main Pond in Sep 2021.]

Common Toad Bufo bufo
This species is widespread and can be found in all ponds on site. The Main Pond is the major spawning area, but the young toadlets can be found almost anywhere at the right time of year.

© Alan Keatley

Common Frog Rana temporaria
Until recently this was a very rare visitor to the Recording Area with only a handful of records. It is possible that this species was introduced, it is now recorded breeding each year, although much of the spawn is found in flooded areas and perishes as the flood waters dry out.

© Alan Keatley

Palmate Newt Triturus helveticus
There are few records of this species on site, although it is assumed to breed in the Main Pond. The majority of recent records have been from areas where grass and other cut vegetation has been left, the dump in the Main Wood was particularly favoured.


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