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THE REPTILES

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OF

BY EDWIN J .

209

SUFFOLK.

ROPE.

THE Efts, Frogs and Toads of our County are in good case, on account of their aquatic-spawning habits. It is only too true that our river-courses and their ramificating dyke-systems are constantly dwindling, unless locked ; at the best the fall is negligible and the lack of a foot's depth by drought becomes a serious matter over wide areas. But the heavy Boulder-clay capping High Suffolk and, at such places as it outcrops, the even Stifter London-clay will ever maintain a water-supply ample for the survival of our few remaining species of Batrachians. On the other hand, all our true Reptiles have very appreciably decreased in distribution during the last Century, and with persistent celerity. In particular the Grass Snake, Viper and Slow-worm are to be no longer traced in very many haunts that they frequented with comparative abundance hardly thirty years ago. The face of our county is undergoing such abominably radical changes, at first by a " high " system of farming that entails razing of bushes and felling of shade-trees, enclosure of wastes with stubbing of their broomy and furzy cover; later drainage of wild marshlands ; and now utter rural sophistication to the ridiculous adulation of motor traffic, that most of its features have become so modified as to be unfitted for these specialised creatures' natural environment. Against this we can set little beyond the precarious shelter afforded by rail-road cuttings and bankments which may, despite their barbarous periodic burnings, help to retard though they cannot avert the ultimate extermination of these and too many other persecuted representatives of the British fauna. All our feral species occur also in Cambridgeshire (Handbook to Nat, Hist. Cambs. 1904, by Dr. Hans Gadow); in Essex, excepting the Natterjack (Mammals and Reptiles of Essex, by Dr. Henry Laver); and in Norfolk, whence the Edible Frog does not appear to have been recorded (Trans. Norf. Nat. Soc. 1871, P- 81), though it has there occurred. Unfortunately William Kirby, F.R.S., though possessing a comprehensive knowledge of Reptiles (Bridgewater Treatise 1835, ii, pp. 414-35), left nothing relating to his own County on the subject. The following List deals with four classes of records :—(1) The truly British Reptiles which alone are herein numbered and have now dwindled, largely through mcdiasval superstitious intolerance doubtless, to so small a band that not only is the whole of them noticed for future investigation but (2) additional, introduced, ones are inserted in order to avoid their confusion. Other of our species have (3) drifted by quite natural agencies to our shore; änd (4) certain kinds, once indigenous, are now known merely in their fossil condition. The names of those that yet, or certainly did once, exist in a feral State in Suffolk are italicised.


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THE REPTILES

i. Order

OF SUFFOLK.

REPTILIA. TESTUDINATA.

Dermatochelys coriacea, Linn. Leathery Turtle.—In consequence of abnormally high water-temperature at the time, a pair of this large species, which is detailed under the genus Sphargis in Bell's History of British Reptiles (2nd ed., 1894), was taken in herring-nets off Lowestoft during November 1913 (Tr. Norf. Nat. Soc. iv, p. 821). Others have been drifted, by strong tides, rarely into British waters : Bell instances one off Scarborough in 1748-9, two off Cornwall in 1756, and one off Dorset. W e can hardly suppose the " fine Turtle-shell, having the arms of the Grocers' Company painted thereon with the date 1616," that was found in Bury (Suff. Inst. 1855, p. 210) to have similarly originated. But all ' tortoiseshell' of commerce is taken f r o m these Hawksbill Turtles ; the British stragglers seem to have come from the neotropics in the north Atlantic drift of the Mexican Gulf Stream. Fossil Turtles.—The only Reptilian remains recorded f r o m the Crag of the county appear to be the skulls of Turtles, evidently washed therein out of London Clay, and doubtless belonging to the forms characteristic [Argyllochelys sp. of that deposit (Vict. Hist. 44). Lytoloma longiceps*, Owen. -I Remains of many kinds of marine Lytoloma sp. Turtles abound in English Eocene strata ; the West Rocks off Harwich have often vielded a great many perfect fossil carapaces of Turtles, some of them two and three feet in length (Dr. Taylor in White's Suffolk 1885, 72). *Reference is m a d e at o u r T r a n s , i, p. 70, to a mineral concretion, similar to one at Bealings (which is a f o r m of septarian nodule), " in a rockery at D e d h a m " ; it was a d d e d that t h e concretion h a d been t h o u g h t at first to be a Fossil Turtle. Various enquiries t h e r e u p o n which I made at D e d h a m led to nothing, since I o m i t t e d to n o t e the n a m e of M r . Griffiths given in t h e text. L a t e r I m e t M r . G r i f f i t h s , b u t did n o t connect him w i t h this m a t t e r tili in t h e spring of t h e p r e s e n t year I h a p p e n e d to hear f r o m h i m that he p r e s e r v e d a " Fossil T o r t o i s e " in his garden. L'pon obtaining this i n f o r m a t i o n a n d recalling t h e above reference, I went to inspect w h a t I fully imagined w o u l d be a septarian nodule. T o mV surprise, I f o u n d an i n d u b i t a b l e T u r t l e . T h i s Fossil, which then passed into m y possession and was exhibited at t h e Southwold Meeting of t h e Society on 1 J u n e last, is n i n e t e e n inches long, eleven inches broad a n d f o u r - a n d - a - h a l f inches thick : as weighty a m a s s as one can easily carry. It is certainly a Chelone a n d p r o b a b l y a Lytoloma (E. D . Cope, T r a n s . A m e r . Phil. Soc. 1870) of t h e species longiceps, O w e n , b u t rather larger t h a n u s u a l : n o t a b a d specimen, t h o u g h devoid of head and limbs. It is in t w o pieces w h i c h , however, fit t o g e t h e r perfectly ; the fracturea


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Testudo Grseca, Linn. T h e common European Tortoise is introduced as a pet in many Suffolk gardens : M r . Horace Barker, for long curator of the local museum, kept three for a period of years, one for twenty-four, in Bury ; one of these, over a quartercentury old, laid eight eggs last June, which bring her total eggs up to 196. Several have for long been maintained in various Beccles gardens, including that of Ballygate House ; but they do not breed. Eggs were exhibited before our Society by Captain FitzRoy (Proc. i, p. xxxix ; for Norfolk details, cf. T r . Norf. Nat. Soc. iv, 316 & v, 368). Emys orbicularis, Linn. T h o u g h quite common in the Fens of at least Cambs during prehistoric times (Gadow, 107), Suffolk has no record of this European pond Tortoise. It is to be noticed, however, that one was dug alive by a labourer from its hibernation in the peat of L u d h a m marshes, a mere dozen miles over t h e Norfolk border, on 19 February 1904 ; probably it was an escape ; at least, it was considered unlikely to be a survivor of that race of this species whose remains are still found with those of the Beaver, Roedeer and Pelican, in the post-glacial peat of the Norfolk Broads (Tr. Norf. Nat. Soc. vii, p. 754).] Clemmys leprosa, Schv/.=Emys lutaria. Marsh Tortoise.— Sixty examples were introduced from the Continent to east Suffolk during 1889-95, of which no offspring were detected up to at least 1905. But by 1929 they had become ' very numerous ' at one spot there (Trans, i, p. 223 & ii, p. xxxii supra), ranging in size from that of a walnut to mature specimens. W e sincerely hope that they will be allowed to propagate. surfaces show a hard, grey, fine-grained marl a n d sections of misplaced tl? n l S ' ' s e n t i r e l y absent, but some of its impressions remain ; the bony carapace is actually p r e s e n t only in isolated portions but, w h e r e ' l m i s ? l n g ' s o complete is its internal cast t h a t at first sight it appears as though the carapace were quite entire. But actually t h e detail is m u c h SS c •j . ' | a r than might be s u p p o s e d , a fact which militates against accurate laentihcation : t h e intercostal s u t u r e s are extremely clear, b u t those b e t w e e n costal and neural plates are mostly o b s c u r e d . N o trace of t h e plastron emains; all this u n d e r p a r t of t h e skeleton has been removed, and yet t h e nW o f the animal is perfectly maintained. H e n c e arises a puzzling P l e r n , . t o r ! t is hard to conceive of a process b v w h i c h such a result has oeen achieved. Obviously, if t h e plastron had been detached before t h e uooy-cavity had been filled, the f o r m of t h e u n d e r part could not have had h r e ^ e r v ! r ' y e t ' i f t h e P l a s t r o n h a d broken off after the infilling material th3t the im PreservH?6'ru10W-W3S P r e s s i o n o f t h e former w a s n o t Fossir T h e r e is no ghost of an impression : t h e u n d e r side of t h e 3 concave after f surface of piain marl. O n e can suggest only that, SDerim° 3 t l 0 n a n d P o s s i b l y q u i t e recently as geologists c o u n t ime, t h e washed out and m l l V T of its matrix w h i c h was doubtless L o n d o n Clay, a w h i l e t - n U t 3 l l t t I e i n t h e s e a ; a n d t h a t t h e n i t : la>" upside d o w n for CVery t r a c e o f t h e trovino tfc P a t r o n h a d been w o r n off w i t h o u t desT h e de osit a n d unknown m " ™ ' ®hape of t h e b o d y ' P loca'ity are Henslow • til i Griffiths believes t h e specimen belonged to Prof. lj0ndon Possihlv ' t u Clay of t h e Suffolk coast near Bawdsey, or very W e s t Rocks Franc« p °ff Harwich, is its m o s t likely origin.— «ancis E n g l e h e a r t , O c t o b e r 1933.


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Order LACERTILIA. 1. Lacerta vivipara, Wagl. The Common Lizard.—Sufficiently frequent throughout the sandy lands of east Suffolk, where it was much restricted by pheasant-preservation, though now recovering numerically. It occurs about Ipswich at Rushmere, Foxhall, Needham, etc. ; Whatfield (Burn); only one seen at Kettleburgh during 1928-34 (Cribb) ; used to turn up regularly on the riverwall between Martlesham sluice and the rectory wood forty years ago, and doubtless does so still (Doughty); has become rare on heathlands in Blaxhall and Tunstall (Rope, Vict. Hist. 1911, p. 174; et 1934). Southwold marshes and several in Blythburgh Wood during September (Morley); fairly common around Southwold, sometimes abundant in Walberswick churchyard, and I have a nicely marked specimen in pickle that I obtained at Minsmere in October 1930 (Trans, ii, p. xciv): I have kept the species in captivity and one female presented me with seven young that were very dark, almost black, and most active (Collings). Fairly frequent during recent years on some of our northern heaths near Garboldisham, but hardly any roadside hedges seem to harbour it, as is often the case elsewhere ; common in Hinderclay Fen, where it forms Vipers' staple diet, and on 19 September 1933 I handled a unicolorous light-brown female that had no trace of markings whatever, beyond a very faint dorsal line(Kirkby,) Redgrave Fen in 1934 (Morley) and Chillesford Heath (Simpson); Tinkers Walks and Hemley, 1934 (Doughty). Unaccountably scarce upon the extensive Breck heaths of west Suffolk, possibly on account of the soil's salinity: extremely local at Elveden (Newton) ; a few in a Fakenham garden (Trans, i, p. 164). But considered fairly common about Thetford by Clarke in 1897 (Tr. Norf. Nat. Soc. vi, p. 306). I have never seen the species on the Suffolk Breck during annual Visits extending over the years 1896 to 1933 (E. A. Elliott). Frequent in Lothingland (Trans, supra, i, p. 76). I have seen it in every parish between Yarmouth and Lowestoft, oftenest lying in the sun on hedge-banks ; but in 1922-6 I found they had a way of disappearing quite suddenly from certain such banks where they were plentiful during the previous year. In the spring of 1924 I witnessed a fight between two males on a bank at Hobland : they snapped at each other, paused with open mouths, and then caught one another by the throat. A female, captured shortly be'fore on Beiton Common, gave birth to five young on 25 July 1926. They come out of hibernation on any sunny day m winter. One formed part of a Viper's meal, and another was hung on a Butcher-bird's (Lantus collurio, L . ) larder, in Beiton (E. A. Ellis, in lit.). 2. Lacerta agilis, Linn. The Sand Lizard.—Rather d o u b t f u l l y recorded as rare on the Suffolk Breck heaths about Thetford (Clarke, Tr. Norf. Soc. vi, p. 306); I saw a pair, probably of this


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species, under one large stone lying on chalk, in Freckenham on 10 August 1928 (Morley). Quite likely to occur there, since the north-east limit of this Lizard's British distribution is known to extend from Cambridge along the Devil's Dyke that is within a mile of Suffolk and thence into Norfolk (East Ruston Common, teste Mr. Bird ; etc.), pretty surely by way of our western Breck. The Revd. Revett Sheppard of Offton reports a specimen of this species that is said to have been over twelve inches in length, so large was it that at first he mistook its movements for those of a Viper (Trans. Linn. Soc. xvi, 1802). Dr. Wilkinson considered, when 1 was at his Aldeburgh school in 1881-4, that this Lizard occurred at Blackheath (Doughty). Still it needs confirmation as Suffolcian. [Lacerta Eoccena, Owen. Fossil Lizard.—The fragment of a jaw-bone, described from Kingston in Woodbridge, appears to be certainly Reptilian, although its precise determination is probably impossible (Vict. History, 45). Lacerta viridis, Linn. Occurs wild in the Channel Isles, but examples taken in Britain are invariably escapes from captivity, wherein the Green Lizard is a very populär species. Podarcis muralis, Merr. An abundant and most confiding Lizard, extending from the Mediterranean breakwaters to the same Isles but not Britain, wherein it has been exterminated doubtless. Mr. Morley noticed the Wall Lizard in 1931 from Antibes to Geneva.] 3. Angiiis fragilis, Linn. The Slow-worm.—Still abundant, as our many competent observers attest, throughout the entire County, despite the modifications of first high-farming, now soulless devastation of hedges and all undergrowth beside highways. Sudbury (Sperling); Martlesham churchyard (Doughty); Coddenham, Barham, and often suspended on foolish keepers-trees about Ipswich. Especially noticed during the last year or two at Bentley Woods, Whatfield, Blaxhall, Kettleburgh, Monks Soham in 1904-34, Earls Soham, Fritton. Mr. Ellis notes them in Burgh Castle, Beiton, Hopton, and on the borders of Lound Run : I have seen one eating the Slugs, Agriolimax agrestis, L . ; and, in August 1927, found several lying in a nest of the Ants, Lasius flavus, DeG., under a wax-flower dorne on a Blundeston chyd grave. These were coiled and enjoying the sun's warmth, concentrated through the glass; nor did the Ants disturb them.' Common in Southwold and its vicinity: I have seen several of various sizes in Southwold itself, and have kept them in vivarium (Hollings). Not much in evidence through central north Suffolk, though I have lately seen a few of large size in Hinderclay Fen (Kirkby). Fakenham (Caton); and rare about Thetford (Clarke). n Cambs. the species is both local and rare.


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[Order

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LORICATA.*

C r o c o d i l u s vulgaris, L i n n . N o e x p l a n a t i o n is v o u c h s a f e d us of t h e m e a n s b y w h i c h o u r u n i q u e S u f f o l k C r o c o d i l e c a m e alive to O r f o r d n e s s ( T r a n s , ii, p. 197 s u p r a ) . T h e species' occurrence o n t h e British coast is necessarily rare : O n e w e n t ashore at P l y m o u t h on 22 D e c e m b e r 1933, a n d w a s n a m e d b y t h e Biological L a b o r a t o r y on t h e H o e . f Fossil Crocodiles.—' Scutes of j C r o c o d i l e s ' w e r e f o u n d in yellow I s a n d below t h e E o c e n e b e d , believed Crocodilus sp. J t o b e lower L o n d o n Clay, at K i n g Crocodilus toliapicus, O w e n . ! ston in W o o d b r i d g e d u r i n g 1S39 ( D r . T a y l o r 1885, p. 72) : A true Crocodile, C. toliapicus, a n d another _ S a u r i a n m o r e nearly allied to the G a v i a l of t h e G a n g e s , occur in L o n d o n Clay ( L y e l l ' s E l e m e n t s , 290, w h o a d d s :) " w e are led t o i n f e r f r o m t h e p r e s e n c e of Crocodiles a n d T u r t l e s in t h e L o n d o n Clay, a n d f r o m C o c o a - n u t s and Spices in t h e Isle of S h e p p y , t h a t w h e n o u r older tertiaries were f o r m e d , t h e c l i m a t e w a s h o t e n o u g h to m a i n t a i n t h e Q u a d r u m a n o u s t r i b e " of animals. M r . M o r l e y was so f o r t u n a t e as t o find the t o o t h of an u n d o u b t e d Crocodilus in t h e R e d C r a g at B u t l e y N e u t r a l f a r m o n 12 S e p t e m b e r 1930 ; p r e s u m a b l y it is of O w e n ' s species, w a s h e d o u t of L o n d o n Clay. *Though its actual identity is now quite irrecoverable, and its record too inexact to be more than ' interesting,' we must not entirely omit the SEA D R A G O N from the ' past anima s ' (of this Society's Objects). This creature is both figured and described in the Gentleman's Magazine of Nov. 1749, as noted by our Member, Mr. Lingwood :—" It was taken, between Orford and Southwold on the coast of Suffolk, in a net with Mackerei; and, being dragged to shore, was knocked down with a boathook. T h e net being opened, it suddenly sprung up and flew above fifty yards. T h e man who first seized it had several of his fingers bitten off and, the wound mortifying, he died ; afterwards it fastened on the arm of the man, who shews it [as a curiosity, in the following desiccated condition, itinerant through ECounties], and lacerated it so much that the muscles are shrunk and hand distorted ; the wound has not yet healed and is thought incurable.—Its head and tail resemble those of an Alligator. It has two large fins, which serve it both to swim and fly ; and, though they were dried so that I could not extend them, they appeared by the folds to be shaped like those which painters have given to Dragons and Monsters that serve as supporters to coats-of-arms. Its body is covered with impenetrable scales. Its legs have no joints ; and its feet are [doubtless broken and contoiti-d into the impossible] hoofed like those of an Ass. It has five rows of very white and sharp teeth in each jaw. In length it is about four feet though longer when alive, having shrunk as it became dry."—One can do nothing with so vague a description ; and the figure shows ribbed wings, emitted from shoulders, not neck. Excepting such wings, the animal might be thought the octopod Cockatrice (Basiliscus Grevini) of Aldrovandus, which certainly never ' in solitudine Africse vivens ! ' But the bibical Cockatrice (tsiphoni at Isaiah xi, 8 and tsepha at xiv, 29) is considered by Westwood's Scripture Nat. Hist. to be the Egyptian snake, Cerastes vipera, L.—Ed.


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ENALIOSAURIA.

Pliosaurus imacromerus, Phil. Fossil Sea-lizard.—A fine tooth of this short-necked genus, and possibly of the present species, was taken during April 1932 at Corton cliff in Boulder Clay, wherein it had doubtless been redeposited from the middle oolitic Oxford Clay (teste Ellis : W . L . 518). Plesiosaurus Idolichodeirus, Conyb. Fossil Sea-lizard.—Part of the pelvic girdle of a specimen belonging to this well-known longnecked genus was found washed into the Boulder Clay of Corton Cliff, belovv the public gardens, during March 1933 (Chester G. Doughty). T h e skeleton of the species here suggested was twenty-two feet in total length.

Plesiosaurus sp. Ichthyosaurus sp.

" N o t unfrequently large vertebrae of Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus, etc., occuras boulders in a bed of Boulder Clay, on the Henley road near Ipswich, that is excavated and extensively used in brick manufacture " (Dr. Taylor in White's Suffolk 1885, p. 82). Mr. Platten's Ichthyopterygian vertebrae from chalk at Claydon (Trans, supra i, 113 : in coli. Morley) belong to the same category and, perhaps, (_ genera.

Ichthyosaurus thyreospondylus, Owen. Fossil Fish-lizard.— A vertebra of this species, preserved in the British Museum, was found in the upper Oolitic Kimmeridge Clay at Stanton near Ixworth (Cat. Fossil Rept. in Brit. Mus. ii, 39). I. ?communis, Conyb. Fossil Fish-lizard.—Disjointed vertebrae were discovered washed into Glacial Gravel at Pakefield during March 1930 (W. Fowler, Trans, i, 151). Suffolk's lack of Mesozoic rocks robs us of any right to the Great Saurians. " From the abundance of these particular animals during the Lias-Oolitic period generally, it has been called the Age of Reptiles.' For reptiles then abounded everywhere : in the air, as Pterodactyli (Oken) or Flying Lizards, some of t h e m many feet across their wing-stretch ; in the sea, as Plesiosauri (Conyb.), Pliosauri (Owen) and Ichthyosauri (Geoff.), occupying the places now filled by whales and other warm-blooded Cetacea ; jn the rivers, as Crocodilia; and on dry land, as Dinosauria. 1 he last were of variable size and shape, some exceedingly large, and not a few of them actually walked on two legs (Compsognathus) atter the fashion of that little-known Lizard still living in Australia, called Chlamydosaurus by Gray : the young, middle-aged, and adult of all these ' monsters of the prime ' are found in the fossil State " (Dr. J. E. Taylor's Underground, p. 188). T h e ' Saurian Fossils in blue-clay ' at Norton railway-cutting (Suff. Inst, ii, 222) were never named, unluckily.]


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Order

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OPIIIDIA.

4. Tropidonotus natrix, Linn. Grass Snake.—Though Dr. Haines has observed it eating the Fish of a nearly dry stream in the New Forest, slugs are its favourite food, hence this species is actually beneficial; yet, though quite harmless, it is so persistently mistaken for a Viper as to be invariably slain at sight by ignorant farmers : now becoming distinctly rare and mainly confined to the wildest parts of Suffolk. A half-century ago it occurred fairly commonly about Ipswich at Bentley, Foxhall, Raydon, Brantham, etc. ; not infrequently about Needham and Beccles ; more rarely at Herringfleet and near Bury; singly at Thurston (Cattle), and near Livermere, about eighteen inches long, in long roadside grass on 21 May 1934 (Miss Boulter); Elmswell and the Newmarket Devils Dyke (it is common in the Cambs. fens.—Gadow). Wetherden, one of 43 inches in 1899 ; Bramford, one of 38 inches in 1913 (Local Paper, ann. citt.) ; Sudbury (Sperling). Foxhall in 1900 ; singly at Monks Soham about 1900 and in 1931 (Morley); Kettleburgh, twice seen during 1928-34 (Cribb); Tangham Forest in 1917 (Trans, i, p. 164) ; recently " Friston churchyard has been infested with Grass Snakes, discovered in numbers on and around the graves and coiled up even in the glass memorial shades " upon them (Local Paper, 4 July 1921). Moderately common around Southwold, and once found alive on the town pavement (Collings). One at Barnby in March 1931 (Lingwood); on 18 September 1916 a Grass Snake of about three feet in length suddenly appeared at the top of the water about five feet from the boat, whence I was fishing on Fritton Lake and under which it had apparently dived ; it swam with its head and about six inches of neck well above the water, and proceeded across to the Somerleyton side of the Lake, a distance of fully a quarter-mile ; the day was sunny and rough with a north-west wind, but the water was smooth at the moment (Doughty: which confirms the similar Fritton Observation at Trans. Norf. Nat. Soc. 1871, p. 82). " Gorleston, Burgh Castle, Bradwell, Ashby and Lound ; one can be pretty sure of finding one any day at Beiton, where they move to damp spots for Frogs in June-July. But in the cultivated regions of Lothingland they are persecuted and now almost exterminated. As a boy a resident of Beiton, who had climbed a tree, had a scare when, on glanncing down, he saw apparently a large Viper on a twig below him ; but he plucked up courage to descend past it, heartened himself with a heavy stick and, on mounting to destroy so venomous a Reptile, actually found merely a Grass Snake's sloughed skin ! " (E. A. Ellis, in lit.). Henley, Barham, Coddenham, etc. Never seen about Blaxhall in a life-time (Rope 1934); or Hepworth, though I have observed it in Cambs. and Essex; its apparent absence in mid-north Suffolk is curious as there is so much fenland, teeming with Frogs, which seems quite


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suited to its habits (Kirkby 1934).* Unknown through forty years at Fakenham (Caton) ; rather rare about Thetford, circa 1897 (Clarke) ; one, fully grown, recently watched entering water in Mildenhall ("Andrews). [Coronella Austriaca, Lac. T h e Smooth Snake is restricted in Britain, as far as is ascertained, to hot and stony situations in Hants, where it is now rarelv seen (Dr. Haines), Dorset, Berks and Surrev (cf. Trans, i, p. 151). A man who manages a private Zoo at Dickleburgh, told me that he had seen C. Austriaca in that locality of Norfolk ; but I took the Statement cum grano salis (Kirkby, 1934). It ' does not occur in East Anglia' (Gadow).] 5. Vipera bertis, Linn. Viper.—Quite common throughout the County's eastern heaths up to about 1880. Blaxhall (Rope) and Martlesham Heath in no great quantity (Doughty), both fully thirty years ago ; then frequent about Needham (Lingwood) and occasionally at west Tuddenham up to 1893 (Norgate). Fairly abundant in many woods on the heavier soil up to 1895, e.g. Old Hall in Bentley before the introduction of pheasants there (Morley) ; formerly about Sudbury (Sperling 1934); not uncommon then about Beccles, with the red form in Worlingham Park (Crowfoot) and in Herringfleet (Leathes). A deeply-marked specimen, of just two feet in length, was found in the little Bradwell fen near Gorleston on 7 April 1933 (Ellis). A small specimen, that apparently had swum across the salt-water Waveney, got into trouble on 17 June 1932 in ascending the low-tide mud below the bank at St. Olaves in Herringfleet, where I was fishing, so I ladled him out with my landing-net and emptied him on the rond (Doughty). Not very uncommon about Southwold, and I have seen specimens near the heronry on Blythburgh Common (Collings). One at Orford school in April 1933, and at Valleyfarm at Boyton in May 1934 (Local Paper). Frequent on heaths at Chillesford, Foxhall and, before builders' invasion, to east of Ipswich ; on rough ground near Playford and near Belstead woods (Simpson). Still not uncommon on Woodbridge golf-links (Col. Staddon) and probably on Martlesham Heath, where I saw three in 1929 (Powell). N o w rare about Barham. Rather rare *A hitherto unnoted fact is the extreme rarity of burying Beetles in carcases of Reptiles, compared with all other Vertebrates. At E M M . x Ji" 1 p. 45, I took occasion to print a complete account of all Beetles observed in Carrion of every kind ; and the sole specimen, out of nearly a thousand, ever taken from a Reptile is the Silpha rugosa, L., that was oiscovered in a dead Slow-worm at Belstead on 24 March 1894. Hence it is üoubtless owing to his interest in Reptiles, rather than Coleoptera, that caused the Revd. Revett Sheppard to find a new Beetle " in the head of a dead Snake at Nacton near Ipswich in 1805, in honour of whom it has jeceived its name Dendrophilus Sheppardi " (Curtis, Brit. Entom. 1823-40). ' .ls.kno%vn to this day throughout the world as S H E P P A R D I , of Kirby, whose original description (Choragus : Trans. Linn. Soc. xii, 1818, p. 448) locates type " apud OfTton in Suffolcia a D . Sheppard."—Claude Morley.


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about T h e t f o r d , circa 1897 (Clarke); very rare at Fakenham (Trans, i, 164) and at T h u r s t o n Heath (Cattle); one recendy at Mildenhall (Last, v.v. 1934). In Cambridgeshire, Vipers appear to have become extinct. T h i s species formerly occurred at Corton, Hopton and Lound ; now it lingers at Belion and Fritton, but not numerously. About 1866 it was so abundant in L o u n d that the m i s t e r warned children, on their way to school, to avoid anything resembling a ladies' bead-purse that might be lying in wayside grass. A rusty-coppercoloured specimen of nine inches' length, that I took h o m e from Beiton on 28 August 1926 and left for the night in a vivarium in Company with a House Mouse (Mus Musculus, L.), was slain and gnawed practically in halves before morning by the Mouse. A large specimen, f r o m the same village in June 1926, disgorged two young Birds (possibly Sky-larks, Alauda arvensis, L.) with many caterpillars, spiders and sseds, all perhaps f r o m inside the Birds. In that parish, too, a Viper bit a Dog in the throat; the wound suppurated and a hole formed, so that saliva trickled f r o m the Dog's mouth tili the time of its death, some years later (Ellis, in lit.). T h e y are never seen on the dry downlands, that they affect in other counties, about Hepworth ; but are tolerably frequent over m u c h of the north Suffolk fenland, though fenmen kill them whenever opportunity offers. I have captured a good many, b u t they always refuse to feed. One that I took was a small female of the red forvi (var. chersea, L . ) ; she ate a fully-grown C o m m o n Lizard almost as long as herseif, which is b u t the second time I have known an Adder to feed in confinement. I am trying to establish a sanctuary for this species in Hinderclay Fen, in a heathy and remote corner that is hardly ever traversed except by blackberriers; here the Adders are doing well, and last September I was able to watch six of t h e m in as many minutes. O n e day last July I heard a slight squeaking among some long grass in H o p t o n Fen and, u p o n parting it, I found an Adder in the act of consuming a litter of young Field Voles (Microtus hirtus, Bell), the squeaking being emitted by one of t h e m w h o objected to being e a t e n ; but, though I offered this captured Adder just such young Voles several times in the course of the next month, it would never devour them in captivity, and eventually I was obliged to release it into my Hinderclay sanctuary (Kirkby, in lit. Feb. 1934). A Coddenham keeper in 1934 reported that a colt had dieĂź there f r o m Adder-poison, and a girl at Rushmere been seriously affected, recently (Morley). I have never heard of a case oj Viper-bite in Suffolk, though I have known one in the Isle or W i g h t where these snakes are common (Collings). Viper-bite seems extremely rare in Suffolk, and but one case (Brit. Medical Journ. 1 M a r c h 1930) can be q u o t e d : " A b o u t 1926 I examined,


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with Dr. Ryder Richardson of Saxmundham, a child aged about three years, who had been bitten some two hours previously. The bite was on the dorsum of a terminal phalanx of a finger. Before our arrival, the district nurse had applied silver nitrate so etfectively that the punctures were invisible. The child was comatose, pallid, sweating and almost pulseless. Dr. Richardson injected strychnine, incised the punctured area and rubbed in permanganate : by that time the hand and arm were much swoilen and discoloured. Later the child recovered, after several days' severe illness during which the arm and side of ehest became very swoilen and turned all the colours of the rainbow " (Mark R. Taylor, Regional Medical Officer in Ministry of Health). A three-years old girl, called Hörne, of Holt, died on 7 May 1934 from a similar bite, reeeived the previous day on the side of her left leg ; Dr. S. H. Long knew of but one previous case in Norfolk, wherein the chiid recovered (Norfolk Chronicle, 11 May). The fatality of this species' bite appears very generally exaggerated : a case so recently as 1893 is stated by Dr. Stradling of Watford to be only the fourth competently authenticated. The present total is probably less than a dozen. [Palaophis tolypeutes, Owen. Fossil ' Boa-constrictor.'—First described from vertebras in the London Clay of Sheppey Isle. Prof. Owen considers that his " discovery of Pachyderms, whose fossil remains are met with only in London Clay, and of the vertebrae of the great extinet British Boa-constrictor (Ann. Nat. Hist. iv, 189), equally characteristic of that formation, in the same bed at Kyson in Woodbridge, places geological antiquity beyond question" (Foss. Mammals, etc., 10). Dr. J. E. Taylor has rather perverted this record into the fangs and vertebrae of a large species of Sea-serpent, at least thirteen feet in length (Underground, 214); but any actual analogy with the Boas, which really never attack man, is now considered improbable. Such Lower Eocene Palaophis-species differ in strueture by their heightened neural spine, which lacks the backwardly-directed apical process, from our Pythons, to the largest of which their length fully attained ; their bodies were pretty certainly compressed, as in our broad-tailed and highly poisonous Sea-snakes of the Pacific (constituting the Hydrophiince subfamily of Colubrida), and their matrix indicates them to have been also marine.] ii. BATRACHIA. Order ECAUDATA. 6- Rana temporaria, Linn. Common Frog.—Abundant every^here with us, as throughout England; Sudbury (Sperling); on two occasions I have known Herons, Ardea cinerea, L., to kill scores of frogs at Bradwell and leave their bodies on the dykebank (Ellis). Spawns towards the end of March, before 27th in


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1933 and before 24th in 1934, in accordance with the season : cf. R. M. Savage on ' Influence of External Factors on Spawning Date and Migration of the F r o g ' in Proc. Zoo. Soc. 1934. M y l a t e brother refers (Vict. Hist. 1911, p. 175) to a Suffolk " variety, in which the Upper parts are of a rieh chestnut with darker spots or blotches, the under parts being yellow splashed and sprinkled with light scarlet or blood red," as occurring around Blaxhall and at Bures ; this form is certainly not very rare in the County and several Members have observed it upon various Üccasions, but without noting its localities. 7. R. esculenta, Linn. Edible Frog.—Certainly indigenous in Britain, since it occurs all over Europe and is recorded, along with R. temporaria, by Newton from the pleistocene Forest Bed of East Anglia (Trans. Norf. Nat. Soc. 1884, p. 655), though no fossils have turned up in the Cambs. fens (Gadow, 106). But it has been exstirpated here ; and introduced to Cambridgeshire and from Belgium to Stoke Ferry in Norfolk about 1830. Also, it was put down " in ponds at Brandon in Suffolk, a favourable locality from which typical and varietal forms appeared to be absent " before, by Mr. G. E. Mason about 1884 (Trans, i, p. 239 supra); but nothing has been heard of it since that time. One, perhaps escaped, speeimen turned up in a Felixstow garden during August 1882 (Zool. 1883, p. 226); and several from Normandy, that were turned out in Blaxhall during both 1882 and 1892, did not survive 1895 (Rope). I have had them here at Snape for four years, offspring of some I introduced. I think they would increase rapidly, if it were not for persecution by the Common Frog and also Toad. For, in the spring when the Common Frog is breeding, the Edible species is still practically dormant; so the male Common Frog is able to catch her and invariably kills her by his attentions. Hence I have only very few females left, but have bred some Edible Frogs each year (E. Hugh Buxton, in lit. 18 June, 1934). [Hvla arborea, Linn. The bright green Tree Frog has thriven in the Isle of Wight since its liberation there, a long time back. Widely distributed in Europe. A few years ago the late Sir Walter Greene of Nether Hall in Thurston sent home some Green Frogs from Cannes, which were turned out in his walled kitchen garden; but I do not think they bred (C. F. Cattle, in lit. 1934). Alytes obstetricans, Laur. Quite doubtless more species, than now exist, were British in A.Saxon and mediseval times : Reptiles were ever abhorent to the ' Catholic' mind ! This C o n t i n e n t a l animal may have been among them, since a colony persists at Bedford that established itself by unrecorded means very long ago.j


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8. Bufo vulgaris, Laur. Common Toad.—Sufficiently abundant everywhere in damp situations, breeding in most waters, including the numerous homestead-moats of High Suffolk, the cold clay of which district appears quite congenial; Sudbury (Sperling). Spavvns rather later than Frogs, in 1933 not tili 6 April. Specimens are frequently to be seen sitting in wait for moths Aying to both light in Monks Soham (Morley) and sugared trees in Fritton marshes (Moore). Very little modification of colour is usually observable. I have found it to be very common about Southwold where I have kept several, including a large specimen f r o n Grimes Graves near Brandon, for many years ; they grow quite tarne, and soon forget to exude their sticky mucus and to blow out their hodies when handled. T h e y live free in my vinery, where a g o o i deal of time is spent in a bowl of water for they are good swimmers, and where they retire to rest among low Vegetation about October and emerge about the end of March if the weather be sunny ; during this period they take no food. But their capacity, when hungry, is very great: I have known one swallow two eight-inch Earth Worms (Lumbricus terrestris, L.), and then appear but slightly swollen. One particularly interesting fact associated with food is that, when a Toad leans eagerly forward, watching a Meal-worm Beetle (Tenebrio molitor, L.) or similar dainty that has been placed before it, the long hind toes vibrate as if quivering with excitement [doubtless anticipating a spring upon its prey, it the latter should attempt flight.—Ed.] ; this phenomenon usually occurs in the case of all my specimens. T h e colour of the skin reacts to environment, for they become piain dark brown after resting some time on bare earth, and fade to light yellow with conspicuous markings after exposure to the sun on a light background. An extraordinary power they possess is that of climbing : they persist in getting into high watering-cans, and this morning (8 April 1934) I found one swimming in my Fish-tank, to do which he must have scaled thirty inches of vertical brick walling, probably in the angle where two such walls join (Collings). Jean Rostand's 1934 " Toad Life " assures us that these animals live several hours after decapitation, several days after extraction of the heart, and four after the lungs' removal. M r . R. M . Savage has an interesting paper in this year's Proc. Zool. Society on ' the Breeding Behaviour of the Common Frog and Toad.'

9. B. calamita, Laur. Natterjack Toad.—Of distinctly restricted Distribution in England, Scotland and Ireland ; probably nowhere commoner than in EAnglia. Throughout Norfolk it is ' more local than rare, being found abundantly in many localities' that are omitted (Trans. Norf. Soc. 1871, p. 81). In Suffolk it is extremely local inland (as also in Cambs.) though scattered, as


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usually small colonies, in sandy places all down our east coast from the Waveney to the Deben : Beiton where it was seen " extremely abundantly in June 1902 " (I.e. vii, p. 568) ; Fritton at both Caldecot Hall in September 1920 (Morley) and Fritton Hall where it is in profusion, most sedulously preserved by our Member, Major Buxton (Trans, ii, p. xxxii supra); and St. Olaves (Leathes) in Herringfleet (Miller). T h e Natterjacks at Fritton have always been there in great quantities, and are indigenous. I imagine they are over the whole island that is formed by the sea and surrounding marshes ; at least, they are very abundant all round the dry ground of the lake, down to the marshes on the west side. I have never actually seen them breeding; but undoubtedly they do so early, in the marsh-ditches (E. H u g h Buxton). I have never discovered them spawning, though I have found the tiniest fellows soon after they have left the water, e.g. at Beiton, Lound and the margin of a pond in Gorleston. T h e y are gregarious, burrowing into sandy banks near fenny ground : large speeimens are rare. T h e y emerge in late April or early May, later than Frogs or Common Toads ; and I noticed them already hibernated at Beiton by 22 September 1926. An idea of their numbers is given by a colony at Stepshort in Lothingland, where I counted over two hundred individuals in A u g u s t ; one, slain by a scythe on 26 July 1926, had eaten many Beetles (E. A. Ellis).

Southwold (Cooper) in the Buss marshes (Morley); Easton Warren in 1924 (Doughty); Walberswick (Rope) and in September 1930 as far inland as Wangford Wood (Trans, i, p. 151). Quite a common animal in Southwold and its district, though easily overlooked : at once recognised by the yellow line running down the centre of its back. It is much more agile than the Common Toad, not so large, and more compactly built with t h e head small er ; I have found the body-length to ränge from one to twoand-a-half inches. T h e movements of a speeimen, that I saw at night, were more like those of a rather slow Mouse than of a Toad ; 1 brought it home and it is alive now : they become quite tarne in captivity, and take their food well (Collings). Aldeburgh in August 1882 (Zool., an. cit. 465); and formerly common at Coldfair Green beside the Hundred River (Rope), now a very small stream that is often dry. Bawdsey and Alderton (Miller); a colony at the former village was destroyed to form the manor garden about 1890 (Moir). Wortham Common (Rev. Julian Tuck), and frequent in a pond at Tostock (W. H . Tuck). Many searches by me have failed to produce this species about Hepworth, where fenmen assert it occurs (Kirkbv). Its smell is said to resemble that of gunpowder.


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CAUDATA.

[Salamandra maculosa, Linn. T h e occurrence of this Fire Salamander, strolling across a road in Cambridge and doubtless escaped from captivity, is used by Dr. Gadow to mention that a friend, who had Continental experience of the species, assured him of the presence of several examples about 1903 " at a certain place on the East Coast," not impossibly that of Suffolk. Remains of our common Snake and Viper, Toad and the following Triton, have all been found by Newton to exist in the pleistocene Forest Bed (Trans. Norf. Nat. Soc. 1884, p. 655): but local occurrence of such fossils is not apparent.] 10. Molge cristata, Laur. Triton, seu Crested Newt.—Certainly conmon enough in ponds and moats throughout the boulderclay: Sudbury (Sperling); Monks Soham (Morley); Stuston in 1933 (Gale); Pakenham Fen (Cattle); Onehouse (Trans, i, p. 239); Blaxhall (Rope), etc. Many tadpoles of this species, with a few of M. vulgaris, were noticed in a pond at Herringfleet on 17 August 1925. On 11 April following, two adults were in the same pond with a large number of their eggs, that had been laid in the folded edges of Periwinkle flowers (Vinca major, L.), casually thrown into the water. In some instances as many as four eggs were attached to a single leaf, which was folded one way at the tip and then backwards to form another recess, and an egg was laid at both ends of each fold (Ellis). Pretty surely general over the entire County, though observations are sparse and in 1897 Clarke could only doubtfully record it about Thetford. 11. M. vulgaris, Linn. Smooth Newt.—Our familiar Eft or S>wift, occurring everywhere in damp gardens and even damp house-cupboards and outhouses. Sudbury (Sperling). Frequent from Blaxhall (Rope) and Lothingland (Ellis), through Monks Soham, Parham (Morley) and Hepworth (Kirkby) to Thetford where it is common (Clarke). A skeleton below the flooring of Buxhall church (Revd. H . C. Hill 1930). While sinking a well at Hawstead in October 1777 Sir John Cullum, F.R.S., found that " a Newt (Lacerta palustris, [Linn, or Laur. ?]) had formed a smooth hole for its winter residence at eighteen inches below a shallow Stratum of black surface mould " (Hist. Hawst. 1784, V P- 230). 12. M. palmata, D u m . Palmated Newt.—This is distinctly °cal in the south-eastern counties, though not rare in several parts of Essex (Laver); it occurs in Cambs. only in Quy Fen (Oadow) ; and extends to Norfolk, where it has been located solely at Sparham near Reepham (Tr. Norf. Soc. 1871, p. 8 2 : not noticed later); but it is more prevalent than the last in western


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England. ' I have not yet seen it in EAnglia ; but it is com-noner than is usually supposed in certain parts of the country. It was very abundant in the brackish ditches on the Aberdovey golfcourse of north Wales in 1931, being the only Newt in that locality ; and I have met with it quite commonly in several ponds in the Sussex weald, notably at Hassocks ' (Kirkby). Hence it was pretty sure to occur, though hitherto mistaken for the Smooth Newt, in Suffolk. It is doubtless scattered sparsely over the entire County, for which it was definitely confirmed on 31 May 1933 by the capture of five examples, including both sexes, in a dyke at Burgh Castle village (teste Ellis, Doughty, Morley).

GEOLOGY.—Two papers bearing directly upon Suffolk strata have this year appeared in Proc. Geological Society of London. That on the lower formation deals with " the Eocene and Pliocene Beds of Lane End, Buckinghamshire " by S. W. Wooldridge ; from it one can establish the Eocene age and exact stratigraphical Position of those beds, whose quartz and lydite pebbles show the Chalk cover to have been breached north-west of London early in Eocene times. T h e paper includes a quantitative account of the petrology of both the Eocene and Pliocene deposits described. That on the upper formation treats of " the Westleton Series : its Age, Distribution and Relations " by J. D. Solomon, B.A., Ph.D. ; and shows that the so-called ' Glacial Sands' ot Suffolk, etc., all belong to this Series, excepting only certain deposits in Valleys which contain debris brought by that later ice-sheet which laid down our Chalky Boulder-clay. Material of such glacial Sands and Gravels is chiefly ice-borne, but largelv water-deposited; and apparently derived from land bordering the Westleton Sea on all sides but the north, indeed materials from every direction were mingled in this Sea, presumably by the agency of floating ice. As here understood, the ' Series ' includes all Prestwich's deposits excepting the Upper Freshwater Bed ot litoral Norfolk, as well as part of the Bure Valley Beds ; further, it embraces most of the mid-Glacial or Pebbly Gravel of London geologists, the Plateau Gravel of Berks and Surrey, and the majority of those gravels that are termed by H.M. Geol. Survey as ' glacial' throughout south-eastern England. Hence the Suffolk village of colloquial Gun-shots becomes more famous than even Chillesford.

The Reptiles of Suffolk  
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