Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Heathland gems ...

Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis)


L. agilis is one of the UK’s rarest reptiles. Due to the dramatic loss of habitat they now occur naturally only on protected sandy heathland sites in Surrey, Dorset and Hampshire and within the coastal sand dune systems of Merseyside. A captive breeding programme has allowed for the reintroduction of L. agilis to further sites in these areas and restored its historic range with releases in North and West Wales, Devon, Cornwall, Kent and West Sussex. L. agilis has full legal protection under current British and European law making it an offence to kill, injure, capture, possess, disturb or sell them, or to damage or destroy their habitats.

They have a fairly thickset appearance and the males often develop a beautiful jewel green colouration on emergence from hibernation [late March to April] and in preparation for the breeding season. Mating typically occurs in early summer from May to June. They are the only indigenous British lizard to lay eggs [oviparous], which are placed in burrows dug by the females in loose exposed sand; the warmth of which aids development.

The above male from a small West Sussex colony.

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2 comments:

  1. great lookin Sand Lizard, can't wait to see our first ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very vivid colours, and a strangely contended expression

    ReplyDelete