Dumfries and Galloway now appears to have a new species of reptile resident in the region. Recorder Chris Cathrine disturbed a Grass Snake near a pond in the Drumlanrig area, which promptly swam away across the pond. Chris managed to get a good view of the distinctive pale collar as it swam away. The sighting is only the second confirmed one in Dumfries and Galloway, the other being right on the Dumfries and Galloway-Cumbria border, but this new record places the species well into the region.
Unlike the other reptile species present in the region, the Grass Snake lays eggs and relies on the environment to incubate them. It thus relies on warmer conditions, and is right at the northern edge of its range. Their population is known to reach well into north Cumbria, and it may be that they are present in other places in D&G. Previous unconfirmed records have come from the Castle Douglas area.
Open compost heaps are popular places for egg-laying, meaning they could occur in gardens too. People across the region should look out for them and report any potential sightings.