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All about green lizards (Lacerta bilineata)

Lizard Looks:

  • Green lizards are among the largest European lizards - adult males can reach up to 40 cm in length!

  • Adults are usually bright green – hence the name!

  • It’s easy to tell the difference between males and females because males have bigger heads and bright blue throats which stand out more during the breeding season.

  • Female lizards have yellowish-green throats.

  • Young lizards are normally beige or a duller green colour, with two narrow stripes on their sides.
Locating Lizards:

  • Green lizards are generally found on dunes, cliff slopes and coastal heathland. Small populations can also be found in gardens bordering these habitats.

  • Green lizards need to live in vegetation which has a good supply of food and protects them from predators. They need a variety of vegetation cover which is suitable for hibernation and laying eggs.

  • Most green lizards can be spotted on Jersey’s west and south-west coast, particularly Ouaisné Common and Les Blanches Banques at the end of St Ouen’s Bay.
Lizard Food:

  • Green lizards like a varied diet of insects, eggs and berries.
Lizard Lifecycle:

  • Green lizards mate in April and May.

  • During the mating season, males have striking blue spots on their throats

  • They are diurnal which means they’re active during the day.

  • Green lizards are “cold blooded” so they need to lie in the sunshine or on hot surfaces to increase their body temperature so they can digest food and move around.

  • Green lizards are territorial animals and males become aggressive during the mating season.

  • Females lay a clutch of 5 to 20 white eggs in June or July. These are usually buried underground or in vegetation exposed to the sun.

  • Baby lizards hatch out around September and are brown in colour.

  • Adult lizards hibernate earlier than young lizards which can sometimes be seen up to the end of October.

  • Green lizards are harmless to people, pets and other wildlife.
Male green lizard showing vivid throat colour © John Nugent
Male green lizard showing vivid throat colour © John Nugent

Female green lizard © John Wilkinson
Female green lizard © John Wilkinson

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