Common Lizard, Zootoca vivapara
The Common Lizard, Zootaco vivapara. is very common in Ireland, although not seen very often. On an island with no other reptiles, it is not sure how the first Lizards arrived here. Was it via the east, using a landbridge with the UK mainland, or did they come via the south, from say, France.
I do wonder how many of the local cats and dogs have been surprised by these Lizards. ending up with a tail between its teeth, while the prey had been given time to escape. The tail will re-grow again.
This is not the only amazing behaviour of this animal. Like any other reptile, the female lays eggs. what is unusual in the Common lizard is that she keeps the eggs inside her body. After three months, the little lizards will break out of the egg and the female will give birth, similar to a birth in a mammal,
Unlike the mammal babies which need their mother's milk and parental care, in order to mature, the young common lizards are capable of looking after themselves immediately.
Common Lizards feed on invertebrates, like Insects, Spiders, Snails and , Earthworms.
Cats and Dogs are a major predator to the Common Lizard, which grows to only 15-18cm.
As a widespread specie, it is not on the red list of endangered species in Ireland. It is however protected by law as a protected specie.
The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Enfo, has an interesting factsheet on the Common Lizard in Ireland.