The Sand lizard is a beautiful reptile which is sadly endangered in the UK and gains its name from the fact that in Britain it is restricted to sand dunes and sandy heath land, although in Europe it has a much wider range and can even be found in the mountains of France and has also been spotted as far east as Mongolia. UK colonies exist in Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset due to the heath land and the Sand dune areas near Merseyside. It has also been reintroduced to other areas such as Devon and North Wales in an attempt to increase the overall population. Sandy Habitats are vital to the lizard’s reproductive cycle as it buries its eggs in sand and uses the warmth of the sun to help them develop and hatch.
The sand lizard can grow to a surprising 20cm long with a short legged stocky build and has a grey brown skin with darker patches and a dorsal stripe, its under belly is lighter. The male lizard has attractive green flanks which become more distinct during the breeding season in April/ May. During the colder British winter they hibernate normally from October to March, under ground often in small groups to share warmth.
The prey of the Sand lizard is made up of insects, spiders, worms and even slugs although they are omnivores and will eat fruit and the heads of certain flowers. When food is plentiful they will eat large amounts, when food is scarce they have been known to be cannibalistic preying on the young of their species. As mentioned they are an endangered species and have been protected by law since 1981, it is a criminal offence to kill injure or sell Sand lizards.