Written by Chloe Davey, Transforming Lives Trainee.
In the UK we have a small, but lovely, variety of reptiles, there are seven species to be precise. Three snakes (smooth, grass and adder), three lizards (common, sand and slow-worm) and even the big, darling leatherback turtle.
Each of these reptiles are unique, yet similar to one another. They all start life as eggs, some are laid in a safe area to hatch and others are incubated inside their mother’s body and are born live. I would love to spotlight these truly amazing reptiles and share my passion for them. After all, there are more to reptiles than people think!
It can be quite difficult to spot reptiles when you are on a walk as they like quiet, secluded areas away from people. Warm mornings are your best chance at seeing these amazing creatures as they bask. Being cold-blooded, they rely on the sun’s rays to warm their bodies and give them energy for the day ahead. Some will hunt on land while others will hunt in the water. For example, grass snakes are excellent swimmers and hunt for amphibians, small fish and small mammals. That is why they are often seen in gardens, usually those with ponds.
Leatherback turtles, despite not breeding in the UK, are considered native and spend most of their lives in the water. Males will never leave the water once they enter, they breed in the water and the females will emerge on land to lay eggs.
Later in the year as the weather gets colder, reptiles will settle down to brumate, which is like a hibernation for reptiles. Instead of sleeping all the way through the winter, reptiles can still awaken every so often to feed and even roam about. Without the sun’s warmth they will become more tired and slow.
It is so incredibly fascinating to know that there are currently more than 10,000 species of reptiles in the world and an additional 2,700 subspecies. It is so important to protect the native species we have here.
Hopefully together we can help increase the population and protect our native species!