Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The Common Lizard

The Latin name is Lacerta Vivipara. It is also called the Viviparous Lizard because it bears young lizards in a membrane rather than lay eggs like most other reptiles. It is beautiful with black and brown spots on green skin with a yellow belly. It feeds on insects, spiders and grasshoppers. Evidently it likes heathlands, woodlands, cliffs, mountainsides, hedgerows and quarries. But it also likes our field! It is the biggest lizard we have espied on our land! Smaller ones have been eaten by our two cats! It is also lucky to be alive because two days ago our neighbour, the sheep owner, arrived to cut the long grass with his hay cutting machine on the back of a large tractor! Maybe the lizard raced to the nearest sanctuary. Today, our lizard was spotted at the bottom of the bonfire pile, basking in the sunshine. When I spread the lawn cuttings on the land it quickly darted to it's shelter. So, when it is time to ignite the bonfire we must check that our lizard and other small animals are not living beneath the waste matter.

In April we saw another on one of our walks. It was basking on the footpath but quickly disappeared into the hedge undergrowth.
In July we saw a black and yellow knobbly Fire Salamander on the footpath in the woods. It was one of the hottest days of the year, but in the damp, mossy woods where we walked to shelter from the heat, the mosquitoes ate us alive. The Salamander was fully grown as it was at least 20cm in length. I have read that they can live for up to 18 years. Unfortunately, it was one of those rare occasions when we did not have the camera with us!!

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