Natural History

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The four species of reptile found in Eryri are quite widely disseminated, only two, the Common Lizard and the Slow?worm, are by and large frequent while the other two, the Grass?snake and the Adder, are more local.

Common Lizard
The Common Lizard is on the whole plentiful and flexible to its surroundings. It is found in some quite extreme locales, ranging from coastal sand?dunes to the rocky mountain tops. It is as likely to be found on the roadside banks in the lowlands as the edges of mountain paths. It likes dry grassy places; or, rocky slopes and walls; however, it can be found (but not so frequently) in the quite damp and mossy conditions prevalent in bogs. Really soggy places, the central areas of woodlands and the sea?shore seem to be the only major habitats where you are not likely to see a lizard.

Individuals vary much in accessibility: most lizards scuttle off into the grass on approach, not to be seen again, but some you can view at close range and even pick up.

The other lizard found in Eryri, the Slow-worm, only appears to be so much scarcer than the Common lizard because it is on the whole nocturnal and hides by day under stones or vegetation. It also seems to be wholly an inhabitant of the lower regions, being commonest in warmer habitats. It seems as plentiful near habitations and in gardens as anywhere, like the common lizard, the slow?worm will occasionally emerge from hibernation in midwinter, at least in mild districts.

The Grass-snake, with its preference for damp, even watery habitats, is naturally local. It is not necessarily more widespread than the adder.

The current paucity and irregular distribution of the adder is not easy to understand. Adders are not strictly confined to one habitat, although sunny banks and heaths are usually thought of as typical adder country: However, as with lizards, you can find them quite high in the mountains and in peat bogs, sometimes lying in wet patches of sphagnum moss.



Perhaps the most interesting thing to find out about frogs in a mountain region is the height to which they range. In Eryri they breed at some of the highest peat pools, often when there is still snow on the mountains and even ice partly covering their pools. Because of the low temperatures and poor feeding in some of these acid mountain pools, tadpoles may be very slow to develop. Some of them take at least a year and grow.

The common toad is quite abundant in shaded and damp places all over lowland Eryri; however, it is quite scarce. It is apparently rare or absent on tire high ground