AN atlas which records the habitats of amphibians and reptiles across Wiltshire has been produced for the first time to promote the importance of the landscapes that support them.

The Herpetofauna of Wiltshire documents the distribution of frogs, snakes, lizards and other creatures across the county at the present time and will help future surveys and records.

Gareth Harris of Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre, which has produced the book along with the Wiltshire Amphibian and Reptile Group, said: "Wiltshire offers diverse habitats for each of the common and widespread species in the UK ranging from the ponds of the clay vales for great crested newt, the wetlands of the Cotswold Water Park for toad and grass snake, the ephemeral ponds of the Salisbury Plain chalk plateau for common toad and great crested newt, and the chalk hilltops for common lizard.”

Wiltshire supports the four species of native common and widespread reptiles found in the UK which are slow worm, common lizard, grass snake and adder, as well as all five species of native amphibian which are common frog, common toad, smooth newt, palmate newt and great crested newt.

Mr Harris said: "At least three non-native species have been recorded including American bullfrog, Alpine newt and red-eared terrapin. It is hoped that this document will stimulate further recording and that greater effort will result in the discovery of new breeding sites and new species in the county. "

Gemma Harding of Wiltshire Amphibian and Reptile Group said: “The atlas represents the first document in the county to promote our amphibians and reptiles and the importance of the habitats that they need. We hope to use this to encourage greater participation in survey and monitoring as well as to promote wildlife-friendly gardening and landscape-scale habitat management.”

More than 10,000 records, covering the period 1996 to 2017, have been included in the atlas, offering the most up-to-date assessment of the county’s herpetofauna to date.

Mr Harris said: "As well as highlighting the core range of the native species, this work also aids the identification of gaps in knowledge and distribution to prioritise and direct future survey effort. It also highlights the potential to promote national and local recording schemes to volunteers and community groups to feed monitoring data towards national conservation efforts."

The atlas can be downloaded, free-of-charge from the WSBRC website,