Species Focus

Common lizard

(Zootoca vivipara)

Common lizard

Common lizards are a focus species for the Western bund habitat area at Waterbeach.

Discover: Common lizard

Common lizards are often brown with light stripes and spots, but can vary in colour. As its name suggests, these lizards are common and widespread across the UK, living amongst grassland, heathland and woodland edges. These lizards hibernate underneath rocks, logs and leaves in autumn to winter until the warm sun returns in the spring.

  • Conservation status: Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
  • Measurements: Length: 10-15 cm.

Common lizards use their speed and agility to hunt invertebrates and avoid predators. However, if they aren’t quite quick enough, these lizards have a backup defence. They have the ability to shed their wriggling tails as a distraction if attacked, allowing them to escape into nearby cover. They can then re-grow their tails.

Common lizard

Can you spot: As common lizards are cold blooded, they can often be found basking in the sun, harnessing energy which allows them to become characteristically quick and agile. Look out for them between March and October on log and rock piles in sunny, shelter locations.

Did you know: Common lizards are not common in all respects, unusually instead of laying eggs, common lizards give birth to live young with females showing a pregnant belly in the summer months.

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