Haslemere Natural History Society

Providing a focus for enthusiastic naturalists of all ages

Reptiles on Ambersham Common (Natural England)

Date: 4 September 2021
Field Meeting

Leader: Paul Stevens (Sussex Amphibian & Reptile Group Committee member)
With more than 20 years’ experience of recording amphibians and reptiles, Paul led members across part of Heyshott Common, which is on the other side of the road from Ambersham Common.
He had carried out a full survey of the site during the previous week and had planned a route to visit the tins (refugia) where Slowworms, Adders, Grass Snakes or the rare Smooth Snake take shelter.
The very first tin that was lifted revealed a fairly small, adult male Smooth Snake. For several members this was an exciting ‘first’.  A second male Smooth Snake was also found beneath another tin.
As the group moved on over the Heath where heather was still in flower, seen were: 6 dark brown, furry Fox Moth caterpillars; a Wasp Spider in her web and an egg pot made by the same species; an unusually dark Slowworm, clearly gravid and near to giving birth; and flowering Dwarf Gorse growing adjacent to Common Gorse.
Under the final tin a third male Smooth Snake was found, with members declaring it had been thrilling to have had the chance to see three examples of this rare and elegant snake.

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