Instruction for field observation of amphibians and reptiles
As all of the amphibians and reptiles of Hungary are protected, it is important to follow the rules and regulations which are in force. The aim of our website is collect data, but not at the risk of harm to the animals themselves or to observers! We’d therefore like to give some advice for future data collectors.
During data collection, please minimize the disturbance of the animals and their environment!
It may be easier to find amphibians and reptiles by methods such as examining their hiding places, but this can disturb the animal and even cause it to abandon an area, so try to use other, less intrusive means where possible. Passive observation can be informative and has the added advantage that it allows you to become familiar with the animal’s natural behaviour.
In Hungary and in neighbouring countries visiting some protected area requires a permit or that you are accompanied by a ranger. You should check an area online or by contacting the administrative authority to see if restrictions apply and then make sure you have the right permits before you visit. If you would like to visit a private area, get in contact with the owner. Unauthorised visits for surveying give biologists a bad name and can lead to landowners refusing to cooperate with conservation initiatives. In most cases landowners are very happy to give permission and may even give useful advice about places to look. If you collect data for us, it does not exempt you from following laws and regulations.
You don’t need to have a permit to observe protected animals but you do need one if you will be catching and handling them, for example to take measurements. Taking photographs can be a very important tool for identification and for recording differences between individuals, but it should be done without any disturbance of the animal or its environment. We do not support catching animals just to take pictures!
You can help prevent the spread of the chytrid fungus!
If the handling of amphibians is unavoidable, use sterile gloves made of nitrile (not latex or vinyl gloves which may harm tadpoles). If you visit several sites, do not forget decontaminate your clothes, boots and the equipment used for collection. Not only will this reduce the risk of spreading amphibian pathogens like chytrid fungus, it also reduces the risk of accidentally transporting non-native species. Find detailed advice on reducing the risk of contamination here: link.