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smooth snake faux pas

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peterh View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Apr 2014 at 2:25pm

Hi all,

ok so my mision for the next couple of years is to spot a smooth snake/s on hopefully an un documented site/s, yeah i know good luck on that one right but i will endevor.
Here's the thing, im aware they are really protected and even disturbing them or the cover they may be under requires a licsence, i have no intention of doing the above i was just wondering how far this stretches, i mean just observing and photographing wouldnt be deemed as disturbing provided it was done from a respectfull distance right?
beauty hides in all things, different eyes see it in different ways.
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2014 at 4:20pm
If you ask Natural England they will say it 'depends'.

The actual situation is that if for any reason it ended up at magistrates court it would be for the magistrate to decide what disturbing them actually means. (There is no case law as yet, though there has been a statement regarding what NE think disturbance should mean. This may or may not be all that relevant to a magistrate, so I view the situation as unchanged).

If photography doesn't involve disturbing them, one has to ask why do NE issue licences to cover exactly this activity? To me that implies it a licensable activity.

My comments are purely from seeing the situation for how it stands and are not my own opinion on what should or shouldn't require a licence. Anyone who is setting out to observe, photograph or in your stated case 'survey' for these animals should though at least consider their situation regarding licencing. 

I would think it would be hard to find smooth snakes without using tins/artificial cover objects of some form though.

There are Smooth Snake licence holders on the forum so they may be able to contribute.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote peterh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 8:41am

thanks, i expect your spot on about the chances of seeing one out of cover will be highly unlikey, i guess my method will be going out to observe all herps just focussing on known smoothie sights and a handfull of sights that im hopefull about. im quite lucky that there is known populations near by so perhaps they have colonized other patches in the area without being documented and hopefully coming across one on the move. So just to check on forum etiquette, if the unlikey did happen and i got some pics, it wouldnt be frowned on to upload them?

beauty hides in all things, different eyes see it in different ways.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 8:57am
I disagree on all ca are only seen under tins most of mine have been out in the open, but its a question of knowing where!?, as I think Will could back me up on this statement, and the reptile police are about as useless as nat Eng when it comes down to anything more then clearing scrub and ruin their habitat Keith

Edited by AGILIS - 17 Apr 2014 at 9:00am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 10:28am
I did say Keith it would be hard to find smooth snakes without using tins/ACO - that's not quite the same thing as going to a known site Wink

I guess Peter it 'depends', worth remembering though that forum members would immediately recognise a 'posed' shot, i.e. one where the animal had been handled to position it for the photograph. Likewise a genuine 'in-situ' shot would be easy to spot. 

From the licence point of view if the intention is to go out to look for them, it's where it gets into the grey area as far as the legislation goes. Plenty do just that, and don't worry about it. I personally would link up with a licence holder at first, see if they think my activities ought to be licensed and take it from there. This way there is no doubts or worries. Records collected can go to those who can make use of them etc.

PS it will also greatly enhance the chances of seeing animals at first and you get to meet someone with a huge amount of experience and knowledge, can't be that bad a deal Smile


Edited by GemmaJF - 17 Apr 2014 at 10:43am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 11:49am
Hi peter where abouts do you live as it might make a better chance of you seeing one if you live in Souther England where they are restricted to a few limited sites in Surrey Hants & Dorset I am restricted by current fuel costs as the nearest sites are about 100 miles away
just thought I would show you a juvenile from Studland and some other non tin sightings ,regards Keith


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Edited by AGILIS - 18 Apr 2014 at 7:40am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote peterh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 12:07pm
thanks Gemma..
ahh wow thats a great pic thanks for sharing keith, smooth snake and sand lizard are the two left on my list ( must try harder )
I live in cranleigh surrey, ( kind of surrey-sussex boarder) i know a few sites close by ( within 20 miles ) according to the infomation booklets and info boards they have out anyway, that boast all 6, not to mention masses of cool inverts especialy spiders and dragon flies.
beauty hides in all things, different eyes see it in different ways.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 12:14pm
Peter you live pretty close by may I suggest Frenshan pond area as that is a good start to see a sand Liz Keith
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote peterh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 12:41pm

i know frensham, ive been on a casual stroll through before but was pretty tight for time, but yeah thats about 35 mins away so not far, i saw some common lizards there before and a million dogs ha but no sand lizards or otherwise, but like i said it was a very short trip and quite late in the day, my actual main reason for the last visit was to photograph wood ants but i spent most of the time i had inspecting the area damaged by "wildfire!" you have inspired a return and this weekend lends itself to me perfectly. i was informed ash ranges was a good spot aswel but its so vast i find it a little overwhelming, i also dont know how reliable the info was. i will let you know how i get on thanks!



Edited by peterh - 17 Apr 2014 at 12:44pm
beauty hides in all things, different eyes see it in different ways.
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2014 at 7:39am
hi Peter I I have added a ew more ca & la pics to the last post to give you a bit of a boost as what to expect when you manage a sighting its all a matterm of patience stealth and good hard looking then once you have your eye in it does become easier after about 50 years when your eyes begin to fail lol Keith
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