Searching for Sand Lizards

During the summer I started to explore our local “sandy” heathland. Many of the heathland areas were built on in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but now the ones that are left have special protection and are classed as SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). My local heath is a breeding ground for many birds including Nightjars, Dartford Warblers and Stonechats, but on this particular day I was looking for lizards, especially the rare Sand Lizard.

Sand Lizards can grow to anything between 15-20cm long, with females usually bigger than the males. They are now an endangered species in Britain, due to the loss of habitat from development…. They are secretive little creatures, and I must admit I wasn’t expecting to see one on my first visit to the heath with my camera. Looking back I think I was very lucky to see this one sunning itself on the side of a pathway, and she (I think it was a she?) was quite happy to sit and let me film her.

Sand Lizard at Upton Heath, Dorset – click arrow to view

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15 thoughts on “Searching for Sand Lizards

  1. Well done Jane. Did you know that a great spot for Sand Lizards is Evening Hill in the area just by the viewpoint. If you are early enough you will catch them warming up. Also in Spring when they are mating you see the male in all his bright colour.

  2. Thanks Ray for the tip on Sand Lizards at Evening Hill. I wouldn’t have expected them there… right in the middle of Sandbanks! I’d love to get a video of the male in his bright green colours.

  3. Thanks also Christine, Sue and Vicky. I had never seen a Sand Lizard until this summer… bit of a new thing for me. Hope to capture them on film again in the spring. I also got some film of grass snakes over the summer so may put that on the diary.

  4. Jane at last I can view the sand lizard, thankyou. My family activated the relevent bit on my PC. I so wanted to see them because last July we were walking on Holt Heath and for the first time ever, the heath was full of lizards, they seemed to be sand lizards, especialy as we were on sandy paths. There were so many one actually ran under my foot! I have now started to wear gaiters though, as I had a similar incident with a viper in the New Forest!

  5. Janet. So glad you are now able to see the videos. I will try to get some better footage of the sand lizards in the spring – I will definitely go over and have a look at Holt Heath. I will also put up some video of the common lizard (as I saw them on the same day as the sand lizards at Upton Heath). I’ve never seen an adder… but an adder up your trousers does not sound a nice experience, I can totally understand the gaiters.

  6. WOW! im also working with laina on the project and i can’t believe you got so close to them! ewww thank god we don’t have them in CT!
    lol
    Thank you so much for your help and caring for nature!
    Kara

  7. Hi Laina and Kara. Thanks for your comments. Really glad I was able to help with your project. They are really amazing when you see them in the wild, however you have to spend ages creeping up on them. Hope the project goes well! Jane 🙂

  8. hello my name is hannah , has anyone ever kept slow worms……….i breed them!!! After i breed them straight away i put them back in the wild (except from mum and dad as they wont know how to survive as i have had them since they were babies) , and it doesnt make a diffrence wether the mum is in the wild with them or not coz they leave them as soon as they are born , when i release them i let them go in my massive fields (NO TREES!!) , i would of let them go in the woods but they dont like trees (too shady) , so far ive set free over 312 babies , and im only twelve!!! most of my babies wont survive there first week but atleast im doing my bit to help the survival of the slow-worm species!!! Let me know if u hav a slow-worm or even breed them!!

  9. Hi Hannah. I’ve never heard of breeding slow-worms. I’m not sure it’s right to take slow-worms from the wild in order to breed from them. I know you are putting the babies back into the wild, but I’d be a bit worried about whether I was breaking any rules in doing this (and keeping the parents captive). Do you belong to your local Wildlife Trust? You could ask them about this – they would be able to advise you about the law on this. We have lots of slow-worms in the garden (and in the surrounding countryside). I just leave them to breed naturally plus of course the Sand Lizards…. Thanks so much for commenting. Jane

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