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The Sand Lizard



Distribution: Europe and western Asia, but in Britain it is confined to southern coastal heaths, coastal dunes of Lancashire and possible some localities on the Welsh coast.

Habitat: Sandy heathland and coastal dunes.

Diet: Invertebrates.

Max. length: 70-87mm SVL (180-220mm TL).

Reproductive strategy: Oviparous with clutches of six to 13 eggs.

The sand lizard is Britain’s rarest and most threatened lizard. Britain is at the northwestern extreme of the sand lizard’s European range and its preferred and specialized habitat is threatened by habitat destruction. A large part of the Lancashire population disappeared underneath a holiday park, and building on Dorset heaths could threaten the southern population. However, large populations of this large and attractive lacertid survive on the Ministry of Defence land, where they are probably little affected by tank maneuvers and live-firing. In the breeding season the male becomes a vivid green colour so at this time, more than any other, he should not be mistaken for the smaller and more common viviparous lizard. Females remain brown throughout the year.

Sources for more information:
Arnold E.N. & J.A.Burton1978 A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. Collins. 272pp.
Beebee T. & R.Griffiths 2000 Amphibians and Reptiles: A natural history of the British herpetofauna. Harper-Collins New Naturalist. 270pp.
Bell T. 1849 British Reptiles. xxiv+159pp.
Frazer D. 1983 The New Naturalist: Reptiles and Amphibians in Britain. Collins. 256pp.
Simms C. 1970 Lives of British Lizards. Goose & Son. 128pp.
Street D. 1979 Reptiles of Northern and Central Europe. Batsford. xi+268pp.

 

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