Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara)

This reptile species can be found all over Ireland in areas of marshlands, moors, boglands and woodlands. Although they are common throughout Ireland, they can be hard to find because of their small size and the fact that they are very very quick! Common Lizards are on average about 4 to 6 inches in length but there have been some individual lizards found to be much longer in Ireland.

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This species does not have a natural regulation system for their body temperature. For this reason, the Common Lizard must depend on the surrounding environment to control their body temperature. The Common Lizard is known to maintain a body temperature of 30ºC. Therefore, this species can often be seen laying on warm rocks around midday while increasing their body temperatures by using the warm surroundings and the sun!

Their diet consists mostly of small invertebrates like butterflies, spiders, flies, snails and worms. This species is known to hibernate during the colder winter months and for this reason will stock up on their calorific intake before hibernation begins in October! It is known that Common Lizards begin to emerge from hibernation around the end of February/start of March time. This means that the species will hibernate for approximately 5 or 6 months.

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Common Lizards can be quite territorial. After hibernation, males will try to establish their personal breeding grounds. As breeding takes place pretty much straight after hibernation (March until May), the males will defend their own territory very aggressively so that other males will not steal their areas for mating!

Female Common Lizards usually have approximately 2-12 individual offspring per one birth session. The birth normally takes place any time between June to September. The mothers do not take part in rearing their young. The offspring will begin to feed actively from when they area born and will very quickly move away from their parental habitat after birth to live their own lives!

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The Common Lizards natural enemy is thought to be non-native mink and Irish stoats as well as birds of prey like owls and kestrels. Due to their small size, they are not thought to be of much threat to large mammals like badgers and foxes of which prey on medium sized mammals and birds.

Interesting Facts: 

Irish Name: Common Lizards translated into Irish is ‘Earc Luachra’

Island to themselves: The Common Lizard is the only reptile that can be found in Ireland!

Viviparous Species: Common lizards are viviparous! Viviparous means that offspring develop within egg membranes that are inside the mothers body.

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