Reptiles evolved over 300 million years ago. There are six reptile species native to the UK, but just four in my local area, the slow worm, viviparous lizard, European adder and grass snake.
All four can often be seen basking as they emerge from hibernation in spring; as ectotherms, they use the warmth from the sun and surrounding habitat to regulate their body temperature.
All four species are found in a variety of habitats and all are present at the two larger locations of the four explored in this book. All our reptiles shed their skin, a process known as ecdysis (sloughing), which enables them to grow and shed parasites.
We have only one venomous species in the UK and that is the European adder. They are venomous rather than poisonous as they inject their toxins, the way in which the toxins are delivered determining whether a species is venomous or poisonous. Though the toxins have similar effects once in the body, poisonous animals secrete their toxins rather than inject them, meaning they must be absorbed or ingested.