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Great Crested Newt Great Crested Newt - Credit: Whitfield Benson

Amphibians and Reptiles

The great crested newt has a restricted distribution within the Yorkshire Dales National Park but the other amphibian species are found more widely across the Dales. Only three reptile species are known to be present with common lizard found across the Dales but with a localised distribution. Slow worms are found at a few scattered sites but despite large areas of potentially suitable habitat, adders appear to be very rare.



Vipera berus

Family: Viperidae

The adder is the only British venomous snake.  Individuals may be seen on heathland basking in sheltered sunny south-facing places on a mild and sunny day after rain.  Look out for them between March and the beginning of October.

Nationally, adders have a localised distribution throughout England, Wales and Scotland on heathland habitats.  In the Yorkshire Dales National Park there are large areas of potentially suitable habitat.  It has been recorded in Coverdale and the South East of the Park, but it is likely to be more widespread.  In 2012, an integrated habitat network analysis for adder carried out by the National Park Authority highlighted a number of specific areas of high potential for this species, but a shortage of trained surveyors has hampered any systematic survey.


Great Crested Newt

Triturus cristatus

The great crested newt is the largest of the British newts (170mm). They have dark, granular skin when on land which becomes paler and orangey-brown once in water. The breeding males are very distinctive with an iridescent stripe along the tail, a jagged crest along its back and a smoother crest along the top of the tail.

There is great potential for great crested newts in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Its current distribution is largely unknown partly due to a shortage of licensed surveyors. However in 2010 this species became a priority species for the Yorkshire Dales National Park and consequently wildlife conservation team of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is working with local volunteers to assist with the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS).

Nationally the great crested newt population has been declining due to habitat loss such as the filling in of ponds, as a result the species continues to be on the UK list of priority species for biodiversity action. The habitat of the great crested newt is now legally protected and it is an offence to capture or disturb the species without a license.


Common Toad

Bufo bufo

The common toad has dry, bumpy skin, it moves by walking or hopping and it has a rounded head and body shape. Its colour is grey to reddish or dark brown and an off-white underside with dark flecks. They can most easily be seen at night with a hand torch from late spring to early autumn when they are at their most active and before they hibernate for the winter. They are particularly active at pond edges in February and March.

Toads are thought to be widespread in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. They are associated with deep ponds and lakes when breeding in February and March, but can be found in dryer habitats between April and September. Areas where it has been formally recorded in the National Park include Upper Wharfedale.

Fore more information on Other Amphibians & Reptiles of the Dales, click here.


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