REPTILE & GREAT CRESTED NEWT HABITATS
 
Reptiles
     
Any site supporting even a small amount of overgrown grass or rank vegetation has potential to support common reptiles. This potential is increased significantly if the site is close to or adjoins other suitable habitat types such as vegetated railway corridors, heathland, rank grassland, overgrown gardens and allotments or similarly vegetated sites. A site's geographical location is also extremely significant and any site located in the southern counties such as Kent, Essex, Hampshire, Surrey, Cornwall and Dorset has a considerably higher chance of supporting reptiles than similar habitats located in northern parts of the country.

Sites in favoured parts of the country can support considerable numbers of reptiles, particularly common lizards and slow-worms. An ideal habitat covering an area of just one hectare can support over a thousand common lizards and a thousand slow-worms. Such sites are often rank grassland on the urban fringe, old gardens and allotments and abandoned brown field sites. These sites are often favoured for development and consequently this is where developers most often come into contact with reptiles and the associated statutory agencies and conservation groups.
Over one hundred common lizards were removed from this building site in Essex
 
Even large populations of reptiles can go unnoticed to the casual observer because reptiles are shy creatures that avoid contact with humans. Reptile absence can only be satisfactorily established following a survey undertaken at an appropriate time of year by experienced surveyors following recognised methodologies that are adopted by the statutory conservation agencies.
   
Great crested newts  
   
Great crested newts can be found in a very wide range of habitat types. Breeding ponds can be seasonal pools, large lakes, old mineral workings, ditches or old cattle ponds. Whilst they often favour deeper pools with underwater vegetation this is certainly not always the case and they will often utilise the most uncompromising looking pools. Ponds that dry out late in the summer are often favoured because this prevents the colonisation of fish, which predate great crested newt larvae.

Terrestrial habitat is equally diverse and the great crested newt is able to survive in a great range of habitat types. Typically, hedgerows, ditches, rough overgrown grassland and woodland margins all offer the great crested newt with the cover and foraging opportunities it requires. However, even the most open and barren looking terrestrial habitats such as mineral workings and heavily grazed grasslands can sometimes support great crested newts if suitable breeding pools are available nearby. Depending upon the quality of terrestrial and breeding habitat, population densities can range from a handful of newts to many hundreds of individuals.
Great crested newts will utilise the most uncompromising looking ponds if they lack a resident population of fish
   
Great crested newts are secretive and nocturnal animals and are rarely encountered by the casual observer. Their presence or absence can only be satisfactorily confirmed following a survey undertaken by licensed surveyors using recognised methodologies.
   
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