RAUK - Archived Forum - Hampshire - Vipera berus sites

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Hampshire - Vipera berus sites:

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JamesM
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Joined: 12 Mar 2011
No. of posts: 43


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Posted: 22 Mar 2011

Hi all,

I've visited a local stretch of Heathland near me which is said to house a good population of Vipera berus (as well as Zootoca vivipara), and, to cut a long story short, I've found nothing!

On Sunday, I went further in to the heath to notice plenty of Bramble patches, dead bracken and then a little further on, a clear patch of very short grass containing no shortage of Gorse bushes, heather bushes, bracken and long grass patches. From what I could see, there was also plenty of, what looked like to be abandoned rabbit burrows, as they had leaves at the entrance, and if memory serves me correct, rabbits tend to keep their entrance fairly "tidy".

I thought to my self, "these Gorse bushes, combined with the old burrows, etc must be the hibernaculum for this patch of heath".

I can only assume that the females have emerged and have now gone to their prefered breeding grounds, with the males following.....I am just wondering if anybody with any know-how of the area could tell me (in a PM, as I understand that many people are reluctant to give details on a public forum, which is perfectly understandable) where the breeding grounds are located in this site?

I won't disclose any specific information of where I found this potential hibernaculum, in case I am right in my assumptions, however the site is called 'Netley Common'.

I must say though, that I am very "wet behind the ears", so to speak, and I haven't been in the hobby for very long at all, I would just love to be abled to independantly find our native snakes, and hopefully start up a long-term personal study of their behaviour.

 

Also, are there any other berus locations nearer to Southampton? I know of Lyndhurst, but I was also told about several herp sites around Marwell Zoo, however wasn't given any more details.

 

Cheers,

James.

JamesM40624.4689236111
arvensis
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Mar 2006
No. of posts: 445


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Posted: 22 Mar 2011
I've made 1 to Netley Common, when it was on the hot side and the only thing I came across was a few Zv's.    There are a couple of sites on the outskirts of Eastleigh that have Vb, one being Project Freespace which also has ZV's, Af's and a bloody good population of ticks!

mark

Hampshire Amphibian and Reptile Group.
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


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Posted: 22 Mar 2011

Hi James,

Only to help, but the males are first out, followed by the females. Not just a correction but it's kind of key to observation right now.

The first thing we look for is males emerging from hibernation. They go through a process called 'lying out' where they bask, sometimes cryptically, sometimes in the open for a couple of weeks right at the hibernaculum. Some tend to emerge a little earlier than others, sometimes you get high counts of nearly all the males at that hibernation site in a single day.

Next step is dispersal, the males disperse out and take up position in 'surface dens'. Here they wait for the females to emerge. There is no female breeding ground, just somewhere out from the hibernaculum all the males are spread out and waiting. The females don't do much lying out, but simply emerge then disperse. Breeding females are intercepted by the waiting males, non-breeding females make their way to summer feeding grounds.

The key problem is getting your eye in, most people think they will see a text book picture of an adder lying out in the open, OK sometimes we do, but not usually, so forget that picture, you are looking for something that is much harder to see

Look at some of the shots on this years threads, they can be hard to spot. You won't see the males just moving about in the open until they start mate searching, then they are highly visible. Because they are hard to spot when lying out, you really really have to look hard. Walk very slowly, make no sound and always believe you will see one. Soon enough if they are there, you will start to spot them.

The issue for you now is to answer have the males dispersed if you are right that you found a hibernaculum? From your description if it is also high and dry, it could well be one. Leg work I'm afraid, start from there and check for males each day, if none are visible, move out from the hibernaculum and see if you can find the dispersed males.

I'm just seeing dispersal here in Essex, sites vary though, but it sounds like you might be on to them at your site now. What you learn in looking is worth far more than being told exactly where to look btw.

GemmaJF40624.9411805556
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
JamesM
Member
Joined: 12 Mar 2011
No. of posts: 43


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Posted: 22 Mar 2011
Thanks Gemma!
arvensis
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Mar 2006
No. of posts: 445


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011
Hmm forums gone funny the last 12 hours- a post I made has disappeared and re-appeared again!  I can show you round a site somewhen if you want.

mark

Hampshire Amphibian and Reptile Group.
JamesM
Member
Joined: 12 Mar 2011
No. of posts: 43


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011

Hi Mark, that'd be great mate, cheers.

 

I don't have my own transport, though..... Which site will we be looking at?


arvensis
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Mar 2006
No. of posts: 445


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011
It would be freespace... its not too far from asda in Chandlers Ford
Hampshire Amphibian and Reptile Group.
JamesM
Member
Joined: 12 Mar 2011
No. of posts: 43


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011

Good stuff.

PM sent.


JamesM
Member
Joined: 12 Mar 2011
No. of posts: 43


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011
Won't let me send a PM?
arvensis
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Mar 2006
No. of posts: 445


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011
Try now, will answer in a bit as I have to disappear out.
Hampshire Amphibian and Reptile Group.
kevinb
Senior Member
Joined: 18 Mar 2009
No. of posts: 61


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Posted: 23 Mar 2011
Hello VL, looks like you are making moves in the right direction, don't mess it up!

- Hampshire - Vipera berus sites

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