Perhaps due to the small numbers of species of amphibians and reptiles in the area, and the often-introduced nature of fish, only a few records are available.
Of fish, there are of course native species present, but others have been introduced either by the City of London Corporation or by individuals or clubs for angling purposes. 'A Nature Conservation Strategy for Redbridge' mentions Chub Leuciscus cephalus, Roach Rutilus rutilus, Dace Leuciscus leuciscus and Minnow Phoxinus phoxinus as being present in the Roding north of the Liverpool Street to Southend railway line. Mark Hanson in his "Epping Forest through the eyes of a naturalist" lists Eel Anguilla anguilla, Pike Esox lucius, Carp Cyprinus carpio, Crucian Carp Carassius carassius, Goldfish Carassius auratus, Tench Tinca tinca, Bream Abramis brama, Roach Rutilus rutilus, Perch Perca fluviatilis and Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus. Some of these are from stocks for angling, others ornamental species that have been released. I remember as a youngster pulling what must have been Stone Loach Neomachilus barbatulus from the Roding adjacent to Wanstead Park, and have seen Minnows and Roach in Heronry Pond and Mirror Carp in the Eagle Pond. Flounders Platichthys plesus may sometimes be seen in the Roding by Wanstead Park. This flatfish enters freshwater after spawning in the sea in the spring.
The Grass Snake is one of our commonest reptiles, though often overlooked by casual visitors to such areas as Wanstead Park or the City of London Cemetery. Surprisingly, perhaps, I have had no reports of these from Wanstead Flats.
Red-eared Terrapins Trachemys scripta elegans are common in the area nowadays. My first record is from Wanstead Park on 28/07/2001, and now they may be seen in most of the local lakes and ponds. In the City of London Cemetery these are found together with Yellow-bellied Sliders Trachemys scripta scripta, which itself was first seen in Wanstead Park in May 2013. Also in the City of London Cemetery, a different species was seen basking in the sun on 11th February 2024. This was thought to be a Mississippi Map Turtle Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni, the first recorded locally and for which I have found no other records 'in the wild' in the UK. Most likely it was released into the pond by someone no longer wishing to keep it as a 'pet'.
Smooth Newts Lissotriton vulgaris are common, particularly in the area of the Heronry Pond in Wanstead Park, but have been found in Chalet Wood. They are also known from gardens in Northumberland Avenue, Aldersbrook, and from Capel Road, south of Wanstead Flats. A Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus was reported from Wanstead Park in June 2018.
Common Frogs Rana temporaria are abundant in this area also, though many are killed by cars while migrating to the lake from nearby gardens in the Spring. A green Marsh Frog was heard and seen in the smaller of the Hollow Ponds on Leyton Flats on 4th July 2012. This was the first report of these in the study area. Common Toads Bufo bufo have been less often found, though they may well live quite happily in nearby gardens; however during 2009 numbers of toads were seen in Wanstead Park and reported from nearby gardens. An account of the Green Tree Frog (Hyla) occuring in Snaresbrook is given below the list.
An American Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus was found by Heronry Pond in August 2001, and more have been seen since. In August 2004, a number of dismembered crayfish were found in rough grass just to the east of Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats. It is possible that these had been taken from the lake by predators - perhaps gulls? In 2008, a representative from the angling club that fishes the Basin in Wanstead Golf Course reported that over 50,000 (!) had been caught there over the last few years. Also reported from the River Roding as far north as Redbridge roundabout are the Chinese Mitten Crab Eriocheir sinensis.
|Cyprinus carpio carpio
|Perch Pond, Ornamental Water
|Breed in Heronry Pond; Tadpoles seen in Perch Pond 2011
|Small Hollow Pond, 12/07/04
|In gardens adjacent to Forest areas. One found under log on the Plain in 2006: many in HP in 2011
|In Wanstead Park and gardens in the area
|Occasionally found in Wanstead Park, the old Sewage Works site and the City of London Cemetery - no records for Wanstead Flats
|Trachemys scripta elegans
|Wanstead Park, 28/07/2001; Common in most lakes and ponds in the area
|Yellow-bellied Slider (Terrapin)
|Trachemys scripta scripta
|Wanstead Park, 03/05/2013; Old Crematorium Pond, C. of L. Cemetery, 01/07/2018
|Mississippi Map Turtle ? (Terrapin)
|Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni ?
|City of London Cemetery, Old Crematorium Pond. 11/02/2024
In addition, the following species have been reported although I have not personally seen them:
|One juvenile in garden of house in Belgrave Road, Lakehouse Estate, 18th June 2011 (Tim Harris)
Account of Green Tree-frogs in Snaresbrook. This is taken from 'The Essex Naturalist' Vol.1. (1887)
It is suggested that the species may have been Hyla arborea, the European Tree-frog which is native to Europe excluding Britain, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. The Editors' comments are interesting: they don't seem to have persisted!
References: Essex Naturalist Vol. 1 (1887)