The Sliding Scales Campaign
As part of International Year of Biodiversity 2010, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) highlighted the recent declines of reptiles globally, and celebrated the importance of native species to our lives and culture. The "Sliding Scales" campaign
brought together the many aspects of ARC's work to promote the conservation of snakes.
In 2009, ARC conducted a preliminary investigation into the public's perception of snakes in the UK on 14,000 people. Some key observations were that:
Over the year ARC attempted to rectify this perception and to increase awareness of snake conservation issues by:
Finding out more about their distribution:
Seen a Snake?
- 47% of those asked showed either fear or unease towards snakes, while only 24% expressed an interest in snakes.
- If a snake was encountered in a garden only 2% indicated intent to kill or injure it.
- Although 47% of those asked did not know how many species of snake are native to the UK, 73% knew that the adder is a venomous species.
- 60% of those asked had not seen a snake in the wild.
To protect our native snake we need to know exactly where they are. We need your help to build up a more detailed picture of their distribution.
Although this highly successful Campaign is now ended, you can still
identify and report snakes at the "Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK"
You can see a map recording the distribution of the snakes you reported during
the campaign here
More research urgently needed!
The ARC Snake Genebank
If you find a snake (or slow-worm) slough anywhere in the UK, please send it to us. To find out how click here
Raising Public Awareness:
Identifying Snakes: it is helpful to know what species of snake there are in Britain and very often people do not know which species they have seen when they encounter one. Through the Sliding Scales campaign we have produced a poster
to help people identify British snakes. This may be especially important for other people who are being contacted for advice or who are contacted by people concerned about snakes, notably doctors and other health professionals, vets, RSPCA officers, countryside managers, local authority employees, school staff and police officers. This is available as a download or can requested from ARC. Contact us.
ARC attended various high profile events throughout 2010 to meet members of the public and talk to them about snake conservation in the UK. These included
- BBC Springwatch Southampton (30/05/10)
- Avon Heath Country Fair (31/05/10)
- New Forest Show (27/07/10 - 29/07/10)
- Stock Gaylard Show (28/08/10)
- Dorset County Show (04/09/10 - 05/09/10)
- Thames Festival (11/09/10 - 12/09/10)
Reptile Rambles are guided walks held on various nature reserves around the country that offer the chance to see our elusive reptile species up close, weather permitting. ARC
organises and promotes reptile rambles around the country.
In partnership with ARC, Natural England also hold reptile rambles on many of their reserves around the country.
Dogs 'n' adders
The only venomous snake in the UK is the adder (Vipera berus). Dogs are occasionally bitten by adders; although the bites are painful they are very rarely fatal. Although widespread throughout the UK adders are a protected species and it is illegal to kill or injure them. Follow this link to find out more about how to behave with your dog around this secretive reptile.
Click here to see a few snippets of information about snakes.
Chris Dresh (c)
Click here to learn more.
The "Sliding Scales" campaign was supported by Natural England.