My name is Megan, and I work for Birmingham City Council as a member of the ranger team. From as far back as I can remember, nature and wildlife have always been a part of my life. I have been incredibly fortunate to have grown up amongst an array of animals in my family home which of course, fuelled my love of all creatures great and small.
However, there’s one group of animals in particular that have a big place in my heart….REPTILES! My dad’s love of herpetology meant that as a child I shared my home with lots of snakes, lizards and even tortoises! Fast forward to today and very little has changed. I now have my own delightful menagerie of animals, of which the majority are reptiles that I rescued or adopted.
Before joining the ranger team, I would visit schools and hospices -such as Acorns- to educate children and offer sensory sessions with my reptiles. For such fascinating, beautiful creatures, they suffer an awful lot of demonisation from society. I want to change this narrative and open people’s eyes to the wonder world of reptiles.
When it comes to conservation, they may not be at the top of everyone’s list to save over a cute, cuddly polar bear, but they play an invaluable role within their ecosystems and I’d like nothing more than to see them back on the map. Few people are aware that we have our very own handful of reptile species in the UK, and it’s not surprising as to why. As a result of habitat destruction through change in land use, and human disturbance, our native reptiles are a rare sight to see. With little consideration given to their conservation requirements in previous years, their numbers are increasingly declining. Furthermore, human actions are also implicating the individuals we do have hidden away in their fragmented pockets of habitat. Individuals are decreasing in size and thus in females are resulting in smaller clutch sizes. Not what we need for an already suffering population.
Our native reptiles may be few and far between but I’m not giving up hope of reinstating our scaly friends to their former glory. A huge dream of mine is to one day run a conservation project for the Grass snake (Natrix natrix). In my spare time I have been studying previous papers and books written by fellow enthusiasts of this stunning species. Until that time comes, I am incredibly excited to have joined the reptile conservation project taking place at Dawberry Fields to create habitats that will enable slow worms and the common lizard to thrive.
I will be documenting the experience over on my blog (www.Patchtheworld.co.uk)! We have a little hurdle to overcome, which is funding. We are aiming to raise £2,000 for the project to begin, so any donations would be hugely appreciated. If you would like to donate please click the link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/dawberryfields
Let’s get OUR reptiles back on the map!