14 January 2014

Unseasonal Reptiles

(c) N. Edwards
Two unseasonal records of reptiles were made in the first two weeks of January: The first record concerns what at first appears to be exceptionally early Adder Vipera berus activity, the above individual having been photographed by Nick Edwards in South Gower on 9th January, but was also seen earlier in the month. Nick and Gareth Dockerty have now seen Adders in every month of the year, including winter-active animals on multiple occasions at different localities. They strongly suspect some Adders don't hibernate as conventionally believed, but instead take the opportunity to bask during favourable weather and keep on feeding if they can throughout the year. Their observations and photographs certainly add credibility to this theory. As winter reptiles are likely to be far more vulnerable to the adverse effects of disturbance, if you are fortunate enough to encounter one, try to avoid disturbing it.

The second record concerns a 1.5kg terrapin which was hauled up the bank of Brynmill Park pond on the 8th January and taken to the Gower Bird Hospital and later identified by the Sully branch of the International Tortoise Association as a 35 years plus female Yellow-bellied Slider Trachemys scripta scripta. This species was previously reported from the same locality by Simon Allen of the GBH on 2nd August 2011 when at least six terrapins were noted [Link to sighting Here]. Rumour has it there are now only two animals left at this site.
Brynmill Yellow-bellied Slider (c) S. Allen
Brynmill Yellow-bellied Slider (c) S. Allen

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