Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)
Native to the Channel Islands, the Wall Lizard gets its name from its preferred habitat of walls, rocks and boulders. It can be found in a number of sites in Southern England where it is technically a non-native species, having been introduced or escaped into the wild.
|Identification||Adults up to 20 cm in length (including tail). Very long tail: 2/3 of overall length. Colour is highly variable: generally brown or grey in colour. Green variants also seen. Pattern is highly variable: prominent black spots, mottling or stripes. Tail is brown, grey or rust in colour. May also have light bars on the sides. Belly region has six rows of large, rectangular scales that are generally reddish, pink, or orange. May also have dark markings on the throat. Head is larger and limbs longer than native Common Lizards.|
|Distribution||Non-native species. Found in several areas of England. Native range includes mainland Europe and the Netherlands.|
|Ecology||Active during the day. Generally a climbing species. Prefers rocky environments such as boulders, rocks and walls. Eat insects and other invertebrates. Emerges from hibernation in spring and begins breeding. Males are highly territorial and may defend an area of up to 25 square metres. Females lay between 2-10 eggs. Eggs hatch after 6-11 weeks during the summer.|
|Predators and other threats||The Wall Lizard has a wide range of predators. These include a variety of birds such as Kestrels, snakes, domestic cats, arachnids and a range of mammalian species. Brown Rat will also predate upon Wall Lizard eggs.
The Wall Lizard is classified as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN as it has a tolerance to a wide extent of habitats and a wide distribution throughout its native range. It is however protected by legislation throughout much of its native range and is listed under appendix II of the Bern Convention and appendix IV of the European Union Habitats Directive. Within its natural distribution range, the Wall Lizard faces pressure from tourism development of its preferred habitat and loss of habitat through agricultural intensification. The use of pesticides is also harmful, in addition to the introduction of non-native sub species to localized populations.
N.B. The release of exotic species into the wild is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.