Lacerta vivipara - Common Lizard

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Reptilia - Order: Squamata - Family: Lacertidae

Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, Cors Caron, Wales

Common lizards prefer warm sheltered habitats with nearby dry places where they can bask in the sunshine.


Unlike newts, for which they are sometimes mistaken, lizards have dry skin. They are most easily found in springtime, when they are emerging sleepily from hibernation. By mid summer, lizards are very much quicker at scampering away when they are approached. A fully-grown adult can be up to 14 cm long.

Closeup of the head of a Common Lizard


In Britain Common Lizards are often seen in and around dry stone walls or along railway tracks, where they bask on the stone ballast beside and between the tracks.


The common lizard is also known as the viviparous lizard, because it gives birth to live offspring.

Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, with young


The diet of these fascinating reptiles comprises mainly insects and other small invertebrates.


These harmless reptiles are sometimes eaten by snakes and by larger birds; however, domestic pets, especially cats, are also capable of catching and killing lizards..

Note that all native lizards (and snakes) in Britain are protected by law, and it is an offence to harm them in any way - including offering them for sale. Please leave them alone, and maybe we can halt what has been a remorseless decline in their numbers in recent times.

Reference Sources

Matching the Hatch - buy online here...

Matching the Hatch by Pat O'Reilly (2017) - learn all about aquatic insects and other small water creatures that feature in the diet of reptiles.

We hope that you have found this information helpful. If so we are sure you would also enjoy our books about Algarve wildlife and wildflowers. Buy them online here...

Wild Orchids of the AlgarveAlgarve Wildlife, the natural year

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