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Snakes, Coroline, onduline and I

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Noodles View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 Jan 2011 at 3:17pm

I have come to the conclusion (not solely) that Onduline is the best material for surveying snake sites. Having said that it is bloomin' expensive compared to say tin.

I have found Coroline for a couple of quid less per sheet, but have never used it or read of it being used, although i'm sure a more dedicated herpetophile than I has. The manufacture's notes inform me that the fundamental difference is the thickness (2.6mm compared to 3mm Onduline). Presumably this would affect its heat retention properties but to what degree? Has anyone used it? Does anyone know where to get the cheapest Onduline/Coroline or is the information privileged (like the generosity of my local bottle bank)? Has anyone noted the minimum size sheet for attracting snakes or a wallet friendly compromise (assuming the bigger the sheet the better) 

Cheers

P.S. is anyone else itching to get out to the heath and mire. Happy new year on the 1st of January! I don't think so, i'll be saving me bunting and party poppers for March thank you very much!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2011 at 12:43am
I rate onduline too for snakes, it never fails to produce lizards either which tin can be very very poor for. One sheet of Onduline, cut in three is about the right size to handle for us and right to produce animals. Not too small to not be attractive, not too large that it is difficult to lift or spot all the animals.

Generally we source the sheets through builders merchants and cut ourselves.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2011 at 11:55am

Thanks for that Gemma. Have you tried Coroline and if so how do you rate it?

Cheers

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2011 at 1:17am
I've not purchased Coroline, but I have used it in the field while working under another consultancy. It's 'OK' in terms of producing animals, but I found it broke up  more easily than Onduline. It might therefore be a false economy if it falls apart during recovery and isn't useable again. Though to be fair I don't know just how old this stuff was as it wasn't me that placed. Just didn't seem as good.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2011 at 11:41am
I have been using recycled plastic sheets made from the
left over or damaged sections of reptile exclusion fencing

I have never really rated Onduline in my experience - I
tend to prefer a mixture of materials - hardboard, tin,
felt and now recycled plastic sheets.

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2011 at 4:05am
I can't imagine why you wouldn't rate Onduline Jon.

We have excellent results for all four widespread species and all lifestages. Highest count of lizards 'on' Onduline was 22.

Our 'record' for capture using Onduline was less than a minute.. a common lizard on the M20 started basking on a sheet whilst I was laying the rest of the row. It's also the only material I've regularly had a 'full house' of the widespread species under and the only material I've used that will produce a 'quick' show of adder. (In quick I mean about a month after it was laid, compared to over 18 months at times for tin)

The only time I now use other materials is for slow worm. They love ordinary inexpensive roofing felt. So we double up with it if we have slow worm on site. We did once trial Onduline against tin on a large mitigation of common lizards. Onduline 320 captures.. Tin 1 ...

It's also extremely rare to find fatalities under Onduline, though I have seen a fair few animals 'cooked' under tin.


The only criticism I've ever heard regarding the product is it is 'cheap' compared to tin and hence why favoured by some consultancies. I'm glad to say my experience with the product proved to me that is not the case at all. It is favoured because it delivers results.


Edited by GemmaJF
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Harris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2011 at 1:13pm
I wish more consultants would use Coroline and Onduline. I'm fed up of getting reports where they've put down 50cm x 50cm sheets of roofing felt and after a couple of months pronounce that there are no adders, grass snakes or common lizards on the site.

Saying that, I've got a bunch or Onduline sheets on an adder site and they studiously avoid them; not one adder in 5 years even though they're quite happy to sit a few feet away.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2011 at 1:33pm
I don't rate it as it isn't that effective (in past
experience) or at least I can survey with tin recycled
plastic, wooden boards and visual searches and get the
results I need without the use of corrugated felt tiles.
Reptiles will use pretty much anything which gives
warmth, cooling and shelter. Discarded rubbish and other
materials can also produce reptiles.

I imagine it has a lot to do where you place ACO's and I
also agree that ACO's for adders tend to be less
effective than visual surveys.

There are times when small pieces of felt is necessary
for example in a very public area where you need to hide
ACOs. I have 20 pieces of felt at a local churchyard my
record number of reptiles is 152 under these most are
slow-worms.

I know a well known former employee of HCT who is now 3
years into his consultancy work who is advocating using
smaller pieces of felt - less than 0.25m2!!!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2011 at 1:38pm
I have to say I don't generally encounter snakes under
roofers? felt, other than perhaps occasional
juveniles/immatures (although I?m probably doing
something wrong?).

I do like tin and I can get hold of the old stuff from me
local tinker much cheaper than Onduline. The problem is I
like checking refugia for slow-worm (and perhaps C.
Lizard) on slightly cooler, overcast days (when I can
survey all day and still get excellent results). In these
conditions tin seems to become too cold and doesn't cut
the mustard for me. Clearly I would not expect to find
many snakes in such conditions but I do like to make the
most of our all too brief herping calendar, so I require
a good all round material suitable for surveying all the
'common or widespread' species under a range of differing
weather conditions.

I like the idea of using fence off cuts, although I have
never used them myself, or board for that matter. I
frequently find reptiles under such dumped materials
though. I did once use the laminated wooden doors and
panels from my rebuffed kitchen units. The result was
slow-worm initially but then a high humidity built up
(due to the cool and non-porous laminate no doubt), the
grass turned to slush and the toads and GCNs moved in and
the slow-worms out. Either that or the ants decided to
build their labyrinthine cities beneath.

One of the best materials I used were off cuts from an
old half inch thick, fibre reinforced industrial rubber
belt drive that I found in a defunct aggregates quarry.
Fantastic stuff for reptiles and amphibians (it had
amazing heat retention and distribution qualities in that
the underside was never overly hot). The rubber residue
didn't half used to cake my hands and clothes though. I
must have smelt like the Michelin man?s underpants.

Having said all that I am much in favour of a mixture of
cheap and recycled materials. It is often better not to
over engineer a possible solution and focus, intuition,
confidence and high expectations in your own methods are
key to finding such cryptic animals, i think.

Cheers for your comments

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark_b Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2011 at 1:48pm

The raw data from my research masters from April -October 2010.  37 arrays of coroline, tin and felt (100 x 67cm) spread 10m apart (Reading's method)-  over approx 0.31 ha. Surveyed 3 days a week, morning, midday and afternoon/evening.

  Coroline Tin Felt
Grass snake 16 9 7
Adder 36 43 13
Common Lizard 26 31 39

I will be able to provide more details in a few months

I personally think its a good idea to have a range of different types of refugia.

 

edit/// No slow-worms on site



Edited by Mark_b
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