The British Herpetological Society

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) are seeking to raise £206,000 to enable purchase of an additional 19 hectares of Parley Common - important lowland heathland in Dorset.  The BHS has pledged £10,000 towards the target!    Successful purchase of this acreage would increase the area of Parley Common owned by ARC to almost 20% of the total site area - thereby safeguarding an area of heathland on the site in perpetuity.  


The BHS is delighted to have contributed £25,000 from our Land Fund to the successful purchase of an important heathland site in  Hampshire by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) 

Full details about the purchase and the site can be found in this article:  


pdfBlackmoor site purchase

Thanks to the efforts of our Secretary Trevor Rose and Website Developer Jen Drage,  ALL  editions of The Herpetological Bulletin  from the very first one dated Summer 1980 to current are now uploaded as PDFs and available on the Bulletin page.   This represents a real achievement and provides a fantastic historical resource.   All editions apart from the latest four are flagged as open access in line with our policies in this area.   

For the first time in many years (possibly since the Society was first formed)  we have regretfully decided that cancelling the 2020 AGM - scheduled for April 25th - is the only sensible course of action given the unprecedented coronavirus situation. 

We very much hope all BHS members and other users of the site are able to stay safe and well  in the coming weeks and months. 

At this point we hope that the planned Amersham meeting on September 6th - annual joint meeting with Thames and Chilterns Herpetological Group - will be able to go ahead (see separate event entry for details) but will of course be monitoring the situation in coming months.


Trevor Rose -  our Society Secretary and developer  of amphibian ladders as a solution to avoid the needless deaths of countless amphibians in drains and similar traps  -  recently travelled by invitation to South Korea to explore and promote the idea of the  ladders being used there.  Read more here:  pdfGoing Global!

BHS Council have agreed to donate £25,000 from the land fund towards the total £250,000 target which, if reached, will  enable ARC to purchase 50 acres of Blackmoor in Hampshire - an important heathland habitat for herptiles.

The BHS funds will be made available to ARC when the pledge and donation target is achieved.

For more details of the site and ARC appeal, please click here: ARC Blackmoor Appeal



The recent 2019 joint AHH / BHS / IHS conference held at Drayton Manor Park  was another great success, with both the Saturday workshops and Sunday conference well attended.  Delegates enjoyed a range of varied, informative and often entertaining talks from our excellent speakers, along with great opportunities for meeting up and sharing experiences and information during the breaks.

We would like to once again extend our grateful thanks to Drayton Manor Park for kindly hosting the conference and their great support during planning and the weekend itself.  Particular thanks to the park Zoo Manager, Chris Mitchell  and Conference and Events manager, Melissa Penn.

A full report of the conference will appear in a future edition of our newsletter, The Natterjack. 

The paper on declining adder populations in the UK ( published in HJ , Vol  29 Number 1)  has received  national coverage both in newspapers - Guardian, Times , Telegraph, Daily Express  - and on radio.   A summary of the study findings has also just been published in Science, both in the online and printed magazine editions.


The paper has been published in the HJ as open access, so can be viewed or downloaded here: Adder population decline in the UK


The Science article can be seen here : Science magazine




It is with great sadness that we report the sudden and untimely passing of John Pickett on the 19th of July.  John was a loyal and active BHS member over many years, well known to many of us.  Joint founder of the Bulletin in 1980 (together with Simon Townson), John remained as co-editor for almost 20 years. During his long period of membership John had several spells on Council and had recently re-joined Council in the post of Trade Officer.  A full obituary will be published in due course.  In the meantime, we offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

We are delighted to have been able to make a donation of £800 to help the important work of the Asian Turtle Program.

 For details of the organisation and their work, see:


The donation was made from surplus funds generated by the very successful conference held at Drayton Manor Park and Zoo on April 21st and 22nd , 2018.


The conference was organised jointly by representatives of:

 > the British Herpetological Society

 > Advancing Herpetological Husbandry Facebook group

 > the International Herpetological Society

plus of course the Drayton Manor Park Events team  


for more detail of the event, see information here:


We have now completed a long-standing aim - to upload scanned copies of all issues of the Herpetological Journal to the website from the first one in 1985 to current.

This has been a significant undertaking, with the actual uploading of the scanned files having been handled by Jen Drage of AyeAye Design on behalf of the BHS.  Trevor Rose, our Secretary also gets a shout for organising the digital scanning of the historical issues.

A relevant subscription is required to access the last 5 years HJ content - older content is free to view or download.

We have a similar plan in progress to upload all historical Bulletins to the website - plan for completion during 2018.

The ever popular annual BHS photographic competition is being held at the AGM on April 21st, at Drayton Manor Park Hotel.

See  full details of the AGM here 2018 AGM

And details of the photo competition here 2018 Photo Comp



Herpetological Journal  Vol 28 No 1 (January 2018) and Herpetological Bulletin Issue 142 (Winter 2017) are now available on the website for viewing or download by members with a valid subscription.

Surplus funds of 400 GPB resulting from the joint AHH / BHS Conference held at Drayton Manor Park in May 2017 has been paid as a donation to the important work and activities of the Asian Turtle Program.

Drayton Manor Park Zoo have links with and are working in association with the Program to help conserve endangered Asian turtle species.

Information on the organisation can be found here:,



Herpetological Journal Vol 27 No. 4 (October 2017) and Herpetological Bulletin number 141 (Autumn 2017) are available as online publications to BHS members with a relevant membership.

Please navigate to the appropriate publication page and log in to see the new editions.

In May, Richard and Kim of the BHS Education Committee attended the National Pet Show in the Excel Centre in London - in association with the Federation of British Herpetologists and a number of other clubs and societies.  You can read a full report of the event and their activities  here:  pdfNational Pet Show Report

Herpetological Journal Vol 27 , Number 3 , July 2017 and the Herpetological Bulletin Issue 140 (Summer 2017) are available on the website for online viewing or download by members with the relevant membership access.

The BHS is delighted to be sponsoring the 2017 ACRS for £300.  This major annual event, to be held at the University of Kent on the weekend of June 24th and 25th, brings together many people either working in or with interests in amphibian conservation.

We're delighted to report that the first joint BHS / AHH meeting held at Drayton Manor Park Zoo on the weekend of May 13th and 14th was by any measure a great success.

AHH (Advancing Herpetological Husbandry) is a Facebook based group, devoted to promoting best practise and the latest techniques for successful herpetological husbandry. These objectives align completely with BHS aims in this arena and it was natural that the event organising committee comprised members from both entities.

More than 60 people attended the free workshops on the Saturday evening - far more than expected or indeed planned for!  And  more than 50 people attended the all day Sunday conference - for which tickets needed to be purchased in advance.  Delegates enjoyed a range of high quality talks from expert speakers. It was particularly encouraging to see that delegates included private keepers, representatives from the commercial side of the hobby plus zoo professionals - helping to break down barriers that to some extent have existed between the different groupings for a long time. 

For more information on the event, see the entry in the Events section of the website.  Early planning is already under way for a 2018 meeting - with the hope that this will become firmly fixed as an annual event.

To ensure our digital presence is maintained as effectively as possible, we're delighted to launch the new  website - with a bold, clear new design and revised layout intended to make it even easier for visitors to navigate around.

The  site also includes some new features which will help us ensure that members get maximum value from their membership. Please take some time to have a look around!

As before, the site has been designed and developed by AyeAye Design.



The national adder conservation meeting is being held on the 8th-9th of October 2016 in Somerset. Titled "The Vanishing Viper: priorities for adder conservation" this conference will address all aspects of adder conservation including:

·     ·Strategic challenges and solutions for adder conservation

·      Insights from survey and research

·      Managing landscapes sympathetically for adders: opportunities and challenges for land managers

·      Public interactions with adders – what messages should we be broadcasting?

·      Site protection, regulation and policy issues

·      Mitigating development impacts 

·      Prioritisation of threats and conservation actions for the adder

The full PDF flyer can be downloaded below:

pdfVanishing Vipers Conference PDF181.47 KB31/08/2016


Booking is essential, and can be done through the following link:


Seeing a Toad on the Road warning triangle whilst driving, may make you raise a smile, but its certainly no laughing matter for the adventurous amphibians. These highway signs have become a feature of our roads in recent years in an effort to prevent high-speed killings of our indigenous toads, frogs and newts during the peak times of migration.

Added to the mix of these head-on collisions: road salting, agrichemicals, pollution and habitat damage, and its easy to see why local amphibian populations are becoming imperilled.

But whilst motorists are alerted to the road crossing routes of the migration process, a far more deadly incarceration awaits these creatures in the form of the roadside drain. Gullypots (roadside drains) have long been a problem for amphibians and other animals as a source of entrapment and certain death.

The solution? Gullypot ladders!

 An amusing notion perhaps but extremely effective. Following a sixweek trial of 38 gullypots in Scotland in 2014, successful escapes by drainentrapped amphibians was almost 73%. In the trial jute covered metal strips with a semi-ellipsoidal curve at the top were placed just below the drain grating and had no adverse effect on drainage or maintenance

Now commercially produced, these escape ladders have an Enkamat® covering and a minimum 10 year life. Endorsed by the British Herpetological Society, all proceeds from the sale of the £15 product support further conservation work. As migration time fast approaches Local Councils and Highway Authorities are being implored to consider the installation of these small, clever devices in local hot-spots.


Notes to the Editor

The British Herpetological Society is a registered charity established in 1947. Its Herpetological Journal is ranked as one of the leading scientific publications devoted to herpetology. The Society actively supports conservation of native British species, field studies and conservation management worldwide, scientific research, captive breeding programmes of reptile and amphibian species and exchanges knowledge and expertise both in the UK and around the world.

The trial referred to in the article was conducted by McInroy, C. & Rose, T. A. (2015) Trialling amphibian ladders within roadside gullypots in Angus, Scotland: 2014 impact study. Herpetological Bulletin 132, pp15-19.

Press Contact: Trevor Rose (BHS Secretary), 07778 830192,


Press Release PDF attached below:

Gullypot Ladder128.05 KB03/02/2016, 23:11

Not yet a member of the British Herpetological Society, and interested in amphibian conservation? Join the BHS during July and August 2015

and you will be entered into a draw to win 1 of 5 free frog adoption packs, sponsoring a frog at Manchester Museum.

To find out more about membership and prices, click here.

More information regarding sponsoring the frogs at Manchester Museum can be found here.

NOTE: This offer is only open to new members.

Sponsor a frog


Historically, the Herpetological Journal has only been accessible online to BHS members via the Ingenta platform.  This has now changed - the HJ can now also be accessed online directly within the BHS website. This will particularly benefit individual (as opposed to institutional) members as they will no longer need an Ingenta log-on to access the Journal online..

All issues of the HJ that are currently available via Ingenta are now also available on the BHS website.  A longer term initiative is also underway with the aim of uploading ALL issues of the Journal since its inception.

This approach represents another major step forward by the Society in terms of online access to our publications and increasing our online presence.   The HJ page on the website has been updated to reflect the new access.

The Herpetological Bulletin issue 132 (Summer 2015) is now available to BHS members to view or download.

Print copies will be posted out to print subscribers in the near future.

The Herpetological Bulletin issue 131 is now available to BHS members to view or download.

Print copies will be posted out to print subscribers in the near future. 

Many BHS members may be aware that some individuals and organisations are very active in lobbying against the principle of captive maintenance of reptile and amphibian species.  The Federation of British Herpetoculturists (FBH) have recently started a campaign to promote the positive aspects of such activity.

The campaign is called `Hands off our Hobby'. An information leaflet on the campaign is below, which also includes details of a petition being organised by the FBH in a bid to positively influence legislators in this area.


pdfHands Off Our Hobby

The Kempton park show this year was planned to take place on the 16th of August, however it has been cancelled for 2015. The FBH have released a statement, which is attached below: 

pdfKempton Park Show Cancelled

As part of our commitment to supporting worldwide herpetology conservation, the British Herpetological Society recently donated $1500  as seed grants towards  two important  projects.  Details of the projects can be found by following the links below:

Monitoring of two endemic Urodela species in Edough Peninsula (Annaba, Algeria) - Urodela Project - Algeria


Amphibian Conservation Scoping Project (British Virgin Islands)   - ASA and ASG - seed grants news




We were very saddened to hear of the recent passing of Monica Green. Monica was one of the founder members of the BHS and acted as Membership Secretary from the Society's  inception in 1947 until her retirement from active involvement in 2004 - a full 57 years. Monica's contribution during that period cannot be overstated. The Society was extremely fortunate to benefit from her dedication and commitment; she will be sadly missed.

As at end June 2014, the Herpetological Journal  impact factor was ranked at 1.338 - an all time high for the BHS flagship publication.  Consequently, the HJ is again ranked first among all global herpetological journals! 

Once again the annual BHS Photographic Competition will be held and judged at the AGM on March 29th (see Meetings section for full meeting details).

For further information about the competition and a gallery of previous years winners, see the BHS Photographic Competition page.

Details of this year's competition  (kindly sponsored by Peregrine Livefoods)  and how to enter are shown on this document:

pdfBHS Photgraphic Competition Flyer 2014.pdf681.11 KB11/02/2014, 18:57

Bulletin number 124 and Natterjack number 206 are now uploaded and available to BHS members

Earlier this year, the BHS Council agreed to donate £25,000 from the Land Fund to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) to support a consortium purchase of a number of parcels of land being sold by the Canford Estate in Dorset. The consortium consists of the Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Lesley Haskins Charitable Trust, Poole Borough Council, Poole Harbour Commissioners and the ARC. The ARC and HCT already held leases on six of the land parcels that were being sold and there was initially serious concern as to who would buy the land and what their intentions would be. However with the consortium now purchasing land parcels containing the most important heathland habitat, the future management of these sites for the benefit of wildlife in general and herps in particular seems assured.  The total land purchase cost is likely to be either £2.25M or £3.35M depending on whether an application for a £1M lottery grant is approved. The higher value funding will enable all six important land parcels to be purchased; if the lower level only is achieved, fewer parcels will be purchased. 

Contracts were exchanged in June 2013 with completion - including payment of either the full or reserve property price - being set for end March 2014. 

The BHS donation will contribute specifically to the purchase of Dunyeats Hill. The BHS is delighted to be able to support the consortium and this important initiative.



The British Herpetological Society are very pleased to launch a new, much improved website. The new site includes an enhanced online payment  process for members joining for the first time or renewing, as well as a great new look and easier navigation for users.

Launch of the new website – designed and developed by Aye-aye Design – is the culmination of a very significant project that was embarked on almost a year ago. The Society fully recognises the importance of maintaining an effective on-line presence; the  new site  - with many additional features for both users and site administrators  -  is a key element of this strategy.

Scientists from Natural England, the Zoological Society of London and Oxford University are investigating the current genetic diversity of adders in southern England following fears that the snakes are declining rapidly in the wild. If adder populations have become too small and isolated, the snakes may be suffering from inbreeding depression which would reduce their ability to survive and reproduce successfully and lead to further population declines.This story has featured widely in the news recently, see the BBC articles:

And read CGO Ecology's blog post: