Scottish Fire and Rescue have issued a fire risk warning from 17-20 April. We strongly advise against having fires or barbecues when out in the National Park during this period.

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Amphibians and Reptiles

Some of the more surprising wildlife encounters involve the smaller more exotic residents of the Park. Visitors with young children will enjoy looking under rocks and branches for signs of lizards and slow worms.

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The National Park is home to Britain’s only venomous snake, but this elusive creature is unlikely to lash out and its venom is closer to a bee sting than a cobra bite.

Adder

Adder © SNH

Why is it special?

Adders are Scotland’s only native snake and its venomous.  Luckily its bite isn’t considered very dangerous to most humans and they will hide or flee rather than attack. Still, be careful not to step on one and definitely avoid picking them up; adder bites can be very painful, cause inflammation and me be more serious for the very young or old.

When to see

March to October.

Where to see

East Loch Lomond around Cashel and Conic Hill on south facing banks/rocks/dykes on a sunny day.

Best conditions and time of day

Sunny spells.

How to recognise

Either grey or dark red in colour, adders have clear zig-zag markings.

Difficulty rating

Difficult.

How to support visitors to see it

Adders come out of hibernation in March and will be very active looking for food to restore themselves after a long hibernation.  Sunny spots and rocks.

Further information & advice

There is a map available to see what reptiles have been spotted around Scotland: https://www.recordpool.org.uk/.

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Common lizard

Common lizard © SNH

Why is it special?

Common lizards are widespread across Scotland and are often spotted in the National Park. They have a neat trick of shedding their tails when threatened to distract predators.  The discarded tail will wriggle around while the lizard makes its escape. A new (shorter) tail will eventually grow in its place.

When to see

Sunny days, March to October.

Where to see

Heather moorland on south facing banks/rocks/dykes on a sunny day.

Best conditions and time of day

Sunny spells.

How to recognise

Often brown in colour, lizards can be distinguished from newts by their scaly skin (newts have smooth skin).

Difficulty rating

Difficult.

How to support visitors to see it

Lizards will run if they hear people coming, quietly approaching flat rocks in sunny spots on hillsides is the best way to catch a glimpse of a common lizard.

Further information & advice

There is a map available to see what reptiles have been spotted around Scotland: https://www.recordpool.org.uk/.

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Slow worm

Slow worm © SNH

Why is it special?

Confusingly, these are neither worms nor snakes! Slow worms are “legless” lizards that resemble a snake. Like the common  lizard they can shed their tail when threatened to distract predators.

When to see

March to October.

Where to see

East Loch Lomond around Cashel and Conic Hill on south facing banks/rocks/dykes on a sunny day. Slow worms tend not to bask in sunlight, but will take shelter under objects that heat up in the sun – stones, wood, compost heaps and metal objects.

Best conditions and time of day

Sunny spells.

How to recognise

Shiny in appearance, they are brown in colour. The female slow worm will often have a thin black stripe along its back.

Difficulty rating

Medium.

How to support visitors to see it

Check out likely spots in your area for slow worms. They will be easier to fins on warm days.

Further information & advice

There is a map available to see what reptiles have been spotted around Scotland: https://www.recordpool.org.uk/.

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