The four species of reptile found in Eryri are
quite widely disseminated, only two, the Common Lizard and the
Slow?worm, are by and large frequent while the other two, the
Grass?snake and the Adder, are more local.
The Common Lizard is on the whole plentiful and flexible to its
surroundings. It is found in some quite extreme locales, ranging
from coastal sand?dunes to the rocky mountain tops. It is as likely
to be found on the roadside banks in the lowlands as the edges
of mountain paths. It likes dry grassy places; or, rocky slopes
and walls; however, it can be found (but not so frequently) in
the quite damp and mossy conditions prevalent in bogs. Really
soggy places, the central areas of woodlands and the sea?shore
seem to be the only major habitats where you are not likely to
see a lizard.
Individuals vary much in accessibility: most lizards scuttle off
into the grass on approach, not to be seen again, but some you
can view at close range and even pick up.
The other lizard found in Eryri, the Slow-worm, only appears to
be so much scarcer than the Common lizard because it is on the whole
nocturnal and hides by day under stones or vegetation. It also seems
to be wholly an inhabitant of the lower regions, being commonest
in warmer habitats. It seems as plentiful near habitations and in
gardens as anywhere, like the common lizard, the slow?worm will
occasionally emerge from hibernation in midwinter, at least in mild
The Grass-snake, with its preference
for damp, even watery habitats, is naturally local. It is not
necessarily more widespread than the adder.
The current paucity and irregular distribution of the adder is
not easy to understand. Adders are not strictly confined to one
habitat, although sunny banks and heaths are usually thought of
as typical adder country: However, as with lizards, you can find
them quite high in the mountains and in peat bogs, sometimes lying
in wet patches of sphagnum moss.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to find out about frogs in a
mountain region is the height to which they range. In Eryri they
breed at some of the highest peat pools, often when there is still
snow on the mountains and even ice partly covering their pools.
Because of the low temperatures and poor feeding in some of these
acid mountain pools, tadpoles may be very slow to develop. Some
of them take at least a year and grow.
The common toad is quite abundant in shaded and damp places all
over lowland Eryri; however, it is quite scarce. It is apparently
rare or absent on tire high ground.