Belongs to: reptiles

Common lizard Lacerta vivipara

Also known as: viviparous lizard


Best time to see: Apr to Nov

Key facts

The commonest lizard in Britain, basically brown but with many variations in colour and patterning

Habitat: hedges, scrub, open woods, heaths, rough grassland, field edges and even gardens

Widespread across most of Europe

Recognition

Short-legged lizard with rounded head and thick neck and tail; head and body about 6cm, tail up to twice as long again

Essentially ground-dwellers, although sometimes climb in vegetation; catch insects with their long tongues

On hot days emerge to bask in the sun in warm spots

Lifecycle

Give birth to fully-formed young in holes or cracks in the ground

Young are very dark, almost black

Winter months passed in a state of torpor in a frost-free refuge such as a hole in the ground or a rock crevice

  • Main photo
  • close

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Phil Luke