amphibians&reptiles

Amphibians and Reptiles

Common Lizard

14 - Ray Hamilton (adjusted)
Common Lizard (Roy Hamilton)
Sub-adult Common Lizards (Rob Williams, 2011) (3)
Sub-adult Common Lizard (Rob Williams)
newly hatched on hand
A newly hatched Common Lizard (Jules Howard)
Male Common Lizard, Callander Crags (taken by Rob Williams) May 2012  (1)
Male Common Lizard hiding (Rob Williams)
Male Common Lizard (taken by Jessica Heikkinen) 2008 (2)
Male Common Lizard (Jessica Heikkinen)
Common Lizard female basking (Rob Williams, 2011)
Female Common Lizard (Rob Williams)
Common Lizard basking, Kindrogan (taken by Rob Williams) May 2012 (2)
Common Lizard (Rob Williams)
Common Lizard basking (Rob Williams, 2011) (4)
A Common Lizard basking (Rob Williams)
800px-Zootoca_vivipara_LC0273
Common Lizard (Ray Hamilton)
14 - Ray Hamilton (adjusted) Sub-adult Common Lizards (Rob Williams, 2011) (3) newly hatched on hand Male Common Lizard, Callander Crags (taken by Rob Williams) May 2012  (1) Male Common Lizard (taken by Jessica Heikkinen) 2008 (2) Common Lizard female basking (Rob Williams, 2011) Common Lizard basking, Kindrogan (taken by Rob Williams) May 2012 (2) Common Lizard basking (Rob Williams, 2011) (4) 800px-Zootoca_vivipara_LC0273

 

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

 

Identification Adults up to 15 cm in length (including tail).  Males have a larger head and slimmer body than females, and prominent swelling at the base of the tail.  Usually a shade of brown but colour variants include yellow, green and black.  Pattern of spots and/or stripes down the back.  Males have a yellow/orange belly with black spots. Females have a pale, unspotted belly.  Often mistaken for newts. Lizards have scaly, rather than smooth, skin and move away very quickly when disturbed.
Distribution Native to the UK.  Widespread throughout the UK, including Ireland, but numbers thought to be declining.  Found throughout central and northern Europe.
Ecology Essentially a ground-dweller but may be seen climbing.  Favours open sunny places and dry, exposed locations near to dense cover.  Feed on worms, slugs and insects.
Predators and other threats Can drop its tail if caught by a predator.  Numbers thought to be declining in the UK due to habitat loss and degradation.

 

A year in the life…Spring

Adult lizards emerge from their hibernation sites in early spring. Mating takes place around April.

Summer

Females incubate the eggs inside themselves and ‘give birth’ to up to 11 live young around July/August. Juvenile lizards are tiny – less than 5cm long – and are darker in colour than the adults.

Autumn

Lizards spend the next couple of months feeding up on invertebrates in preparation for winter.

They feed on worms, slugs and insects and give their prey a good shake, to stun it, before swallowing.

Winter

Common Lizards hibernate, often in groups, amongst rocks or dead wood generally between November and March. They may take advantage of milder patches of weather to come out and forage.

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