Protected reptiles (e.g. common lizard, sand lizard, slow worm, grass snake, adder, smooth snake) typically enter hibernation from mid-autumn. Favoured hibernation sites are ideally humid and remain free from frost. These can include underground burrows, crevices in tree stumps or roots, loose soil, grass tussocks, and log or rubble piles.

As the majority of these sites are underground it is unlikely that winter above ground vegetation clearance works will disturb hibernating reptiles. However, more extensive landscaping works have the potential to dislodge these sites and should be subject to an ecological consultation.

  • For all works conduct preliminary checks for reptiles, by undertaking a local records search and a Phase 1 Habitat Survey as a habitat suitability assessment.
  • For above ground vegetation clearance, ensure operatives are aware of the site’s potential to support reptiles and avoid disturbing existing log or rubble piles. 
  • For more extensive development works, delay works until a full reptile survey can be conducted in the spring by an experience ecologist.