Translocation of slow-worms (Anguis fragilis) as a mitigation strategy: a case study from south-east England

  • Published source details Platenberg R.J. & Griffiths R.A. (1999) Translocation of slow-worms (Anguis fragilis) as a mitigation strategy: a case study from south-east England. Biological Conservation, 90, 125-132.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate reptiles away from threats: Snakes and lizards

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Translocate reptiles away from threats: Snakes and lizards

    A controlled study in 1995–1997 in site of mixed vegetation in south-east England, UK (Platenberg & Griffiths 1999, same experimental set-up as Nash 2017) found that some slow worms Anguis fragilis translocated away from a development site survived at least two years and bred but had lower body condition compared to wild lizards. At the final release site, 62 of 103 (60%) slow worms were recaptured at least once during the first two years following release (12 males, 25 females, 25 juveniles). Five and zero gravid females were observed in 1996 and 1997 respectively, and two juveniles were presumed to be born at the release site. Translocated lizards had lower body mass for a given length than wild lizards (reported as condition index). Although 136 slow worms were originally captured in a development area and placed in a temporary enclosure, only 103 were recaptured and moved to the final release site. Slow worms (136 individuals) were relocated in 1994 from a housing development site to a 1,000 m2 holding enclosure of grass and scrub with added hibernacula (rubble and log piles). Slow worms were recaptured under sheets of corrugated iron and translocated from July–October 1995 to a 1.7 ha island in a river that was recently cleared of overgrown vegetation; seeded with grass and native trees; and provisioned with log- and vegetation-piles and a new pond. Translocated lizards were monitored from March–October in 1996–1997 (280 visits) using corrugated iron sheets and photographs for identification and compared to a natural population 1.5 km from the island population.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust