By GlosARG, Mar 20 2015 04:51PM
If you have been keeping an eye on the GlosARG Facebook page, www.facebook.com/glosarg, you will have noticed the first amphibian and reptile sightings of the season, as recorded by our members. So what are our hereptilian friends doing now they’ve woken up after their winter naps?
Reptiles spend as much time as possible in spring basking, in order to get their energy levels up. Energy is particularly important for reptiles and amphibians in spring as they need to find food to replace the reserves they used up whilst hibernating and to find a mate. Aside from restocking their reserves, mating is arguably the most important part of the year for reptiles and amphibians. This is because baby animals provide the next generation of reptiles and amphibians, who will carry on the species and carry their parent’s genes onward through evolutionary time.
You may have already noticed frogspawn in your garden pond, but you probably haven’t noticed any other signs of hereptile laying. Newts lay a single egg at a time, which they carefully wrap in vegetation overhanging a pond or lake. Reptiles and snakes lay small, leathery- or hard-shelled eggs in compost or rotting vegetation. The only common reptile in the UK that lays eggs is the grass snake (Natrix natrix). Slow worms, adders and common lizards incubate their eggs internally and are ovoviviparous. The word ovoviviparous means that the eggs break as the animal gives birth, so it would look like the reptile is giving birth to live young if you were watching.
But now is not the time for birthing, now is the time for finding a mate, courting her and fertilising her eggs. The young will start to hatch in summer, by which time we hope we all will have seen lots of frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards.
Next post will be later in the year.......