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Discover: Nature and Wildlife

Green Lizard

Jersey is the only place in the British Isles with a native population of these striking reptiles.

Jersey is the only place in Britain where Green Lizards occur naturally, the Island representing the north-western margin of their geographical range. Males are bright green with black spots and blue throats, while females are smaller, slightly less vibrant in colour and have narrower heads. Females also have distinct creamy-brown lines running down their bodies along with black or brown markings. Juvenile lizards tend to be beige or duller green, with two narrow stripes down their sides.

Green lizards inhabit dunes, cliff slopes and coastal heathlands and require a variety of vegetation cover types within these habitats for basking, egg laying and feeding. From the Autumn, Green Lizards hibernate underground in burrows, re-emerging the following spring.

Best Places to See Green lizards

The largest populations of Green lizards in Jersey can be found in suitable habitat near the coast in the west of the Island. With a little patience they can often be spotted by the side of footpaths during the spring and summer months. They are quite nervous creatures and you will often hear the rustling sound they make as they flee through the undergrowth.

Reproduction

The breeding season takes place in April and May and it is not uncommon for males to engage in fierce fighting as they seek to establish territories. After mating, females’ lay loose clutches of up to 20 eggs, which are buried in sand or hidden amongst vegetation. Eggs typically hatch in August or September.

Conservation

Although many former colonies have been lost as a result of changes in land use, it is hoped that continued conservation efforts focused on habitat protection and management will ensure that the remaining populations continue to thrive.

Lizard Facts

  • The Green Lizard, Lacerta bilneata, is one of Europe’s largest lizard species, with adult males reaching lengths of 30-40cm.
  • Female lizards have yellowish-green throats while males have blue throats.
  • Lizards are “cold blooded” and need to bask in sunshine or on hot surfaces to warm up.
  • They enjoy a varied diet of insects, eggs and berries.
  • During the mating season males become very territorial and aggressive towards one another.