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SBI Guidelines: Reptiles and Amphibians


Sites of Biological Importance

Any site which regularly supports a significant population of any native reptile. Presence should be confirmed for at least three years out of the previous five at time of selection. Following selection, species should be recorded every five years to confirm status.

This currently includes:

  • Adder (Vipera berus)
  • Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)
  • Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)
  • Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

Site boundaries should take account of the following habitats used by reptiles

  • Basking sites
  • Nesting sites
  • Main Foraging areas
  • Hibernation sites


Sites of Biological Importance

  • Any site that supports a good population of Great Crested Newts.
  • Any site which regularly supports five species of amphibian.
  • Any site with an amphibian species assemblage score of 7 or more.

Table 15: Species List For Amphibian Assessment

Species Method Population size
Low (Score 1) Good (Score 2) Exceptional (Score 3)
Great Crested Newt
(Triturus cristatus)
Seen/netted in day <5 5-50 >50
Counted at night <10 10-100 >100
Smooth Newt
(Lissotriton vulgaris)
Netted in day <10 10-100 >100
Counted at night
Palmate Newt
(Lissotriton helveticus)
Netted in day <10 10-100 >100
Counted at night
Common Toad
(Bufo bufo)
Estimated <500 500-5,000 >5,000
Counted <100 100-1,000 >1,000
Common Frog
(Rana temporaria)
Spawn Clumps Counted <50 50-500 >500

For more info on this see Nature Conservancy Council (1989)[1]

Sites should include all water bodies known to be used by amphibian species where they are within 250m of each other and as long as there are no obvious barriers between them. In this instance all amphibian scores are totalled. Site boundaries should include:

  • All aquatic water bodies known to support amphibians
  • All suitable terrestrial habitat known, or likely to be used, in particular, newt hibernacula.


  1. Nature Conservancy Council (1989) Guidelines for the selection of biological Sites of Special Scientific Interest Nature Conservancy Council; Peterborough
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Version 6.01 (December 2017) Copyright © Staffordshire Wildlife Sites Partnership, 2018 Last Updated: 28/04/2015