Volunteers from Cornwall Reptile and Amphibian Group (CRAG) have been busy surveying the habitat around some of our lakes to find out which of our scaled and pond dwelling friends are living there. Often overlooked and misunderstood, our native reptiles and amphibians are a vital part of the food chain as both predators and prey. There are thirteen native reptile and amphibian species in the UK and of these, eight are found in Cornwall. The sites we manage provide vital habitats for these animals, so it is important to know where our frogs, toads, lizards and snakes are so we can help protect them, their habitats and the other species which depend on them.

Ponds, lakes and sheltered grassy areas for basking are all important habitats for amphibians and reptiles. During spring, frogs, toads and newts go into the water to breed. Clumps of frogspawn, strings of toadspawn and folded leaves containing carefully placed newts' eggs are often the first sign of a new season for wildlife and it is great to have these records coming in along with photos of the animals themselves.

Surveys at Crowdy and Argal began last year and we have already recorded the common frog, common toad, slow worm and common lizard. Volunteers follow a set route with particular places to look for animals recording everything we see. Often we find a small mammal such as a bank vole who has set up home there! We hope to continue with our surveys as soon as the current restrictions have been lifted and work alongside the Wardens and Emma, the Ecologist, to help protect these important habitats and the creatures who live there.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, maybe even a pond, or a wild area where you walk, and have seen a frog, toad, snake or lizard, please record them here.

If you would like to join CRAG and help with surveys at South West Lakes Trust sites or elsewhere, please click here for full details of how to join.