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Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 06 Aug 2004 Topic: Travelling Reptiles



 

Steve,

I've only just joined the forum, hence the delay on reply. In my experience of study of some 15 years in Epping Forest, Grass Snakes most definitely do stay put year after year. I know this because the snakes within the area have their own identifying features. It may not be well known but most grass snakes can be told apart from one another. I have photgraphed the right profiles (if you hold a snake in your left hand and photograph them with your right, they tend to show the right profile of their face - not sure why) of dozens of snakes and can tell you this. They are a creature of habit and can be seen in their favourite locations time after time. You are very unlikely to find them under logs.... Actually inside rotting logs maybe, but not under them. They are certainly not "everywhere". Most ponds have only passing interest from Grass snakes. They have their favourites.

Forget days when its windy. Grass Snakes will generally retreat within bramble, dense scrub and/or heather when it gets anything like a gusty breeze. Unless you are at a "favourite pond" forget any time after say 1 o' clock on a really sunny day and wait until later when the sun sinks down a bit.

Get up early and tread slow and lightly. Grass Snakes are slightly slower when they have just emerged after dark. Say 8'o clock on a day with a good outlook. you should start seeing them by 9. Once they warm up they see you a long time before you see them and are off before you can get a good look at them. Best time. march/ April for beginners. Look for sunny nooks and crannies. You can try drizzly days if it is warm especially if the snakes are shedding as they tend to lie out in the light rain.

Lastly, try to get off the beaten track as much as possible and just try stopping dead still for say ten minutes. GS gives itself away by you being able to hear it rather than relying on sight.

Happy hunting. Invest in a good SLR with an 80 -400mm zoom. Once you start seeing them I guarantee you'll want to prove it to people!!




RobV
Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 23 Dec 2006 Topic: Seasons Greetings



Yep, me as well folks. Happy Christmas to one and all from a dark, foggy, cold and wet Epping Forest. Only three months to go!

Rob




RobV
Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 10 Mar 2009 Topic: Blackwater Adders



Great photos John, they both look ready and willing to ask you to get just a little closer!

Rob




RobV
Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 13 Mar 2009 Topic: List of alien species in Essex



Jon,

there are five, what looks like red eared terrapins living in wake valley lake in EF. I would say the largest of them run that 2 pounder very close that you mention!

Cheers

Rob




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 15 Mar 2009 Topic: frogs



Good afternoon guys,

can any of you bright sparks i.d these frogs for me, taken today.

Cheers

Rob




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 15 Mar 2009 Topic: frogs



Oh yes, and I forgot to say, before you tell me that they are an unusually marked common frog, the croaking was definitely not 'ribbet' 'ribbet', it more more like a long drawn out burp, a bit like a nightingale but of a lower tone and was continuous, rather than short bursts.

Rob




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 15 Mar 2009 Topic: frogs



Suzi hi,

yes i saw the same thing, both the clump size and the actual agg size were smaller than other clumps there and were more tightly packed together, darker perhaps.

Rob




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 16 Sep 2004 Topic: snakes in knots?



 

Sounds weird Gemma, and very unlucky on the camera side. I'd still opt for ill health even though they looked well. Nothing I've read, just instinct if that makes sense!!!!!!!. I once kept Rough Green tree snakes from the US years ago and unfortunately they developed mouth rot which took forever to clear up. They used to ball up around the light so tight it looked positively painful. There you go, another bit of useless info.:0)




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 16 Sep 2004 Topic: Slow-worm densities



I'd have to agree with you on that one Lee, 100%! I'd be suprised if the actual figure of slow worms in an area of say a Hectare was any larger than 30! That is any given hectare where they are known to thrive. That should cause a stir. R


RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 24 Sep 2004 Topic: Of interest only to natrix enthusiasts??



 

If the gang out there are thinking that grassies would simply stop mating because human beings might happen along, take a look at the photo and think again!

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RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 24 Sep 2004 Topic: now the lizards are at it...



 

Gemma, ok, have you ever heard of a lizard basking on a lilly pad!!!!!!!!!! See pic

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RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004 Topic: now the lizards are at it...



 

yeah, that sounds like a good idea.0:)




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004 Topic: Natrix - the longest!



 

Last wednesday, I saw the longest grass Snake that I have ever seen (and believe me, I've seen hundreds). I've just got the photos back from the developers and have reduced it so as to try to fit the thing on here. The previous longest female that I have caught and measured with a traditional tailors tape alllowing the grassie to run through my fingers slowly was 49 inches or 1.256 Metres.

There was no time for maxed out macro lenses or tripods on this, she was way too fast, I was a bag of nerves when I saw her and in a area of forest that I'm not familiar with. So I just took the shot knowing it was huge. Long after she had gone I measured the old rotting silver birch tree base as indicated and it was 13 (thirteen) inches. On the screen I've tried scaling it with the tape using the tree as an idicator (the best i could do in the circumstances) and come up with anything between 6 foot 3" to 6foot 6" or 1.92 -2.0 metres to the tip of the tail also shown with an arrow!!!

The late Malcolm Smith gave 'maximums' of 1.83 metres for females in 1969 and to think, thirty odd years later we still have one to match it leaves me simply astounded. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it, so for your pleasure....Be amazed.




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 02 Nov 2004 Topic: Mating Frogs 30th October



 

In Lee bay in Devon, there is a small spring fed pool which is regularly frequented by very large tadpoles (latest date visited 14th November). I haven't visited it any later in the year so I don't know if it freezes or not. However, seeing as the pool still collects them every year, twenty years after I first noticed them, I've a feeling that they do survive for some reason. Why not give a section of your pond some protection from frost (some sort of temporary covering) and see if the tadpoles survive. I can't see them changing to terrestrial froglets before winter as there doesn't seem to be enough time left. you never know, you could prove conclusively, something that we've suspected for a while..... That tadpoles and dare I say it, grass snake eggs, can overwinter!  R




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 02 Nov 2004 Topic: Vipera Berus



Danny,

If you go into post british amphibians and reptiles, go to 2nd page, look up the post "creeping up on grass snakes" and again, go to the second page, you'll see a photo of four adders together. It was five actually, but the fifth must have decided it was warmer underneath them all. also gemma has put a good one of an adder close up that you might like. Perhaps some of the others might help you out as well. R 




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 05 Nov 2004 Topic: Natrix - the longest!



 

Thanks Simon. It heartened me as well. It made up for all those times tramping around the forest and finding precisely nothing! Happy campaigning. R




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 07 Nov 2004 Topic: Natrix - the longest!



 

Yes, and there is a bigger one in Loch Ness as well!!!!!!!!! 0:)




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 07 Nov 2004 Topic: Tony Phelpsos article in British Wildlife



 

Thats a very interesting point Jon. So what would happen if say, the Corporation of London carried out extensive scrub clearance to an area when they had been previously notified that the area contained Adders and Grass Snakes? Could they be prosecuted and if so, by whom?  R




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 07 Nov 2004 Topic: The smell of fear



 

So, if the theory proves to be accurate and snakes do have the ability to track by odours given off in chemical reactions, does it not then follow, that, the snakes can dintinguish individuals within their own species and identify them by scent if not sight??? R 




RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 07 Nov 2004 Topic: The smell of fear



 

 .....Further to this, I'm hoping that Gemma will be able to somehow place on here, a sequence of four photographs taken last year in early August (apologies for poor quality but at least you get the basic idea). The smaller snake that starts closer to the camera was a juvenile (definitely not sexually mature) and so the interaction between them must have been something other than just a 'mating instinct'. If this sequence shows a deliberate move to identify an individual by scent by both snakes (see how the adult has moved nearer the water in the last frame) I'll let you all decide......I know what I think. R




RobV

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