The aim of the reptile survey training course is to introduce the knowledge and skills required to deliver commercial surveys in accordance with best practice guidance.
- conservation status;
- threats to populations, species range and species survival;
- ecology, breeding biology and behaviour of reptiles (including differences between species);
- known ecological requirements;
- legal protection;
- licensing and permissions;
- appropriate survey seasons;
- current relevant guidance on survey methods and standards;
- survey methods used to survey for reptiles and the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of these methods;
- range of factors that might lead to bias in the survey results, and false negatives;
- factors affecting surveying (e.g. current/previous weather, time of day, time of year, habitat characteristics, geographical location);
- sources of information on known occurrence and distribution (including NBN Gateway, national surveys, county atlases, local biological/environmental records and local contacts/Amphibian and Reptile Groups);
- metadata standards / data sharing; and
- health and safety issues commonly associated with surveying for reptiles (e.g. adder bites and ticks).
Skills (as theory)
- identifying reptile species and differentiating between similar looking species (i.e. between common lizard and sand lizard, or between slow-worm, smooth snake, grass snake and adder);
- identifying reptile field signs (e.g. sloughs, burrows, eggs);
- assessing habitat potential for reptiles, spotting ‘foci’ within habitats (e.g. edges/ecotones, ridges, hummocks, sunny slopes, brash heaps);
- determining appropriate spatial scoping for fieldwork;
- planning and implementing sound scientific surveys, selecting appropriate survey techniques for any particular situation (e.g. visual search, artificial refugia, or both);
- selecting appropriate survey conditions instinctively (current/previous weather, time of day, time of year), using knowledge and experience, and know when to cease surveying as a result of changing conditions;
- detecting reptiles using visual search (‘spotting’ skills, fieldcraft, identifying and sexing reptiles quickly and remotely, minimising disturbance);
- recording reptile sightings, photographing, taking notes, recording weather conditions and visit parameters;
- analysing and interpreting survey data;
- taking appropriate biosecurity precautions;
- taking appropriate health and safety precautions;
- making use of existing refugia and manmade basking places for detecting reptiles (discarded metal, wood, brash, litter, paths-edges, fence-posts);
- deploying and monitoring refugia effectively (suitable materials and sizes, deployment densities, ‘bedding-in’ period, locations, security, risks);
- detecting reptiles using artificial refugia (appropriate timing, safe lifting and replacement, hand capture, welfare).
- legally and humanely handling live reptiles;
- effectively recording biometric data from live reptiles; and
- legally and humanely marking certain reptiles.
First Ecology, Callow Offices, Shipham Road, Cheddar BS27 3DQ.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL: We are very sorry but we are unable to issue refunds if you are unable to attend the course for any reason.