Sand Lizards

Restricted to the Dorset Heathlands, parts of Surrey and closer to the home the sand-dunes of Formby, the Sand Lizard is the rarest of the UK’s native lizards. Fortunately they’re relatively common at the RSPB’s nature reserve at Arne. Apparently the resident Kestrels successfully raise their family each year on an almost exclusive diet of Sand Lizards. Likewise they also form the majority of the Smooth Snake’s diet.

Normally I can get relatively close to reptiles before they disappear into the undergrowth however the Sand Lizards at Arne are reluctant to break cover. Their cryptic colouring blends into the dead foliage and sun bleached leaves. If ever proof of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection is needed these lizards are it. Thanks to the Kestrels only the wariest of the wary survive.

 Male Sand Lizard
Male Sand Lizard at Shipstal Point, Arne, Dorset. September 2011
Sand Lizard (male)

Male Sand Lizard

Male Sand Lizard again at Arne in May 2011. Note the green pigment lost later in the year when the breeding season is over.

About as close as I’ve got to a Sand Lizard.

Common Lizard
Common Lizard again taken in mid-September at Arne at the base of a grass tussock

2 Replies to “Sand Lizards”

  1. Your female sand lizard photo taken in mid September at the base of a grass tussock ,is in fact a common lizard.

    Paul Hudson ,sand lizard breeder and licence holder for 2o years.

    All the best

    1. Hi Paul
      Thanks for the heads up! I actually meant to correct that one a while ago after catching up with the Sand Lizards at Higher Hyde Heath.
      Breeding Sand Lizards sounds like an interesting hobby. Is this part of a release programme?

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