A common frog in garden pond - relatively populous across London, according to the first map of the capital's reptiles and amphibians. Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Corbis
From smooth newts living by the Tate Modern to common frogs acrossLondon, amphibians are widespread in the capital, but snakes and other reptiles are largely confined to its outer rings, the first map of the city's amphibian and reptile populations shows.
The map shows London's native amphibians - common frogs, common toads, smooth newts, palmate newts and great crested newts - to be relatively populous across the city, while native reptiles - slow-worms, common lizards, grass snake and adder - are far more sparse, confined mainly to the outer boroughs.
Hinton explained that surveys had turned up populations in unexpected areas: "There were some great habitats hidden away in surprising locations - for example, there are smooth newts in the Tate Modern pond right in the centre of London, which, with regard to its placement on the distribution map, some may find surprising."
Hinton added, though, that the surveys revealed a worrying number of absences: "We established survey sites on habitats where no monitoring had previously taken place, which seemed ideal for slow-worms, for example, and after numerous attempts, we didn't find anything.
"This may have been down to the strange spring and summer weather we've been having which created less than ideal surveying conditions, but it may also just be because there aren't any animals there." Earlier this month, the National Trust said the summer's record wet weather had been disastrous for wildlife, in particular for birds, bats, butterflies, bees, amphibians and wildflowers struggling in the cold wet conditions.
The map draws on data from the Greenspace information for Greater London project using a mixture of recent surveys and pre-existing data going back to 2002.
Habitat loss from development has contributed to a considerable decline in amphibian and reptile numbers in the UK, putting several species including the great crested newt, common toad and grass snake onNatural England's priority species list.