Amphibians and Reptiles
The Manhood Peninsula is home to five amphibians: common frog, common toad, palmate newt, smooth newt and great crested newt. We also have three of the UK’s six reptile species: common lizard, slow worm and grass snake. The other three reptiles (sand lizard, smooth snake and adder) can all be found in other parts of Sussex, particularly heathland. Amphibians and reptiles are generally considered to be declining globally, and all that are native to the UK are legally protected.
The reason for their decline includes habitat loss, especially the loss of ponds and wetlands, pollution, and predation by non-native invasive species such as American mink. Two diseases also pose a serious threat to our native amphibians: Ranavirus or ‘Red-Leg’ disease and Chytridiomycosis (a fungal disease).
Did you know, grass snakes are very competent swimmers? They have a specific association with wetland habitats and can even hunt underwater! It is also the UK’s largest snake, reaching up to 80cm in length, with a distinct black and yellow collar behind their head.
There are lots of ways you can help local amphibians and reptiles. Start by leaving your lawn uncut and letting the grass grow long (that’s great for lots of other wildlife, too!) Leave compost heaps alone, create a garden pond, and stack logs and dead wood materials for wildlife to colonise in a shady corner.
You can find more information on the following websites: