The Reptiles and Amphibians of Rushcliffe

Rushcliffe Amphibian and Reptile Survey 2019

A pilot project to re-assess the status of our reptiles and amphibians has been launched in Rushcliffe.

Details on how you can contribute to this study are HERE

Common Toad
Common Toad

Recorders: Sheila Wright and John Osborne Send your reptile and amphibian records to: Dr S Wright
Nottinghamshire Geological & Biological Records Centre,
Wollaton Hall,
0115 9153905


Common Frog Common and widespread. Present in almost all ponds and other waterbodies except fast-flowing streams and ephemeral pools. There are however, gaps on the distribution map for Rushcliffe which may or may not reflect its true status, so if you have frogs in your garden pond or have come across frogs and/or frogspawn anywhere in Rushcliffe, please send your records in. Without an accurate understanding of the distribution of all wildlife in the Borough it's hard to understand whether it is doing well or declining.

Frog and toad map
Distribution of Frog and Toad in Rushcliffe

Common Toad The distribution map on the rights suggests that Toads are less widespread than Frogs. Only one square in the Borough has toads present but no frogs - are they more difficult to see (they probably are) or are they genuinely less common?

Smooth Newt This is the commonest newt in Britain and also in Rushcliffe. Somewhat less obvious than frogs but all suitable waterbodies in the Borough have Smooth Newts including garden ponds. If you're in doubt and your pond is clear enough, take a torch out after dark in April or May and you should see them quite readily as they are most active then.

(Palmate Newt) Not present in Rushcliffe (or Nottinghamshire it seems). It favours nutrient-poor waters.

Great Crested Newt Not especially uncommon in Rushcliffe which has the highest density of the species in the county. It is specially protected by European legislation because it is so rare in Europe as a whole. It prefers the larger ponds and so is less likely in gardens.

Red-eared Terrapin Released into the wild following the Ninja Turtle craze, this species survives along the Grantham Canal, Ironmongers Pond at West Bridgford and at Holme Pierrepont. Fortunately they do not breed and will eventually die out.


Grass Snake
Grass Snake

Common Lizard Very rare or non-existent now in Rushcliffe but a small population was found at a planned development site at Wilford from where I believe they were translocated. However it is still worthwhile looking out for them on abandoned railways where unvegetated ballast would appear to provide favourable basking conditions.

Slow Worm Only recorded from two tetrads in Rushcliffe between 1980 and 2003. However this is probably a slight understatement of their true status as I've seen one in Cotgrave Forest and a small colony was at Costock though none have been found recently. In 2019 an established population was found at Willwell Farm Cutting through targetted surveys.

Grass Snake Quite common in Rushcliffe. I know of many people who have seen them but who do not send their records in and I'm confident that they are more common than the official records suggest. The ponds and lush grasslands in parts of the borough suit the Grass Snake well and they often turn up in garden ponds where these are close to open countryside. The Grantham Canal is a good place to see them.

Adder Although Adders are occasionally reported from Rushcliffe and indeed there are two tetrads with accepted records for the period 1980 - 2003, the species is almost certainly absent from Rushcliffe and has been for a long time. Occasional reports that have been followed up have always turned out to be Grass Snakes. If any do survive, I would guess that the best chance would be in Cotgrave Forest. In about 2015,a survey made for them at the site of one of the most recent accepted reports - the active test track at Widmerpool did not find them.