London reptiles’ hibernation ends

Slow worm

From the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in London, England:

Wetland reptiles wake up to spring

All our three reptile species are awake and have been sighted around the reserve.

Our grass snake, slow worm and common lizard can all be found in warm spots. Look out for them on sunny log piles, fences and rocks.

Around 2,000 slow worm were introduced to the reserve in 2002, and are now widespread across the site. They prefer to increase their body temperature underneath stones, wood or sheets of metal which are exposed to sunlight. These unusual creatures are legless lizards – and can live for up to 50 years!

Common lizard and grass snake were introduced to the site in 2005.

Grass snake can grow up to 6 feet (1.9m) in length, although such sizes are now rare. They will be breeding at this time of year: females are often surrounded by a tangled ball of males. The snakes typically use one area to hibernate, one to breed and one to lay eggs. In contrast, both the common lizard and slow worm give birth to live young.

Millions of Australian reptiles falling victim to mine shafts: here.

Distinct populations of snake species on three continents have crashed over the last decade, raising fears that the reptiles may be in global decline: here.

Zeeland common lizards: here.

The slow worm, Anguis fragilis, is a legless lizard. Secretive in nature, it has some interesting characteristics: here.

2 thoughts on “London reptiles’ hibernation ends

  1. Finvoy couple find lizard on wall

    Published Date: 21 April 2010

    IT’S generally accepted that the warm weather brings with it all manner of wild life normally not seen in the dark days of winter.
    But when William and Jill McKinney came out of their house the other day, they were confronted by a sight they thought might only be applicable to another continent – a tiny lizard on the exterior wall of their home on the Long Lane, Mullan Road, Finvoy.
    Naturally, startled by such a sight, both thought it could be a Gecko or Newt.
    However, it has been confirmed that it is a common lizard who, according to Jill, range across central and northern Europe (but are absent from the Mediterranean area) and through to northern Asia, being the most common lizard in Northern regions.
    These are actually the only reptile native to Ireland.
    William and Jill were both in Australia recently and thought that somehow they might have brought it back with them. They now know that not to be the case.
    Carrying out a little bit of research, Jill says that common lizards are active during the day and spend the morning and afternoon (but not the intense heat of midday) basking in the sun either alone or in groups.
    Common lizards hibernate from October to March. They will often hibernate in groups, and sometimes emerge for a brief time during warm spells.
    Both William and Jill say that the lizard is totally harmless and lovely to look at and must have come out with the recent good weather. At present, it nestles high on a wall and though they haven’t tried to catch it, they are more than happy to let it stay – outside their home in the meantime!


  2. Pingback: London amphibians and reptiles atlas | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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