Thursday, 3 November 2011

European Wall Lizard


Currently there’s thought to be 46 colonies of the European Wall Lizard within the UK with the majority being old quarries and south facing sea-cliffs on the Dorset and Sussex coast. Native to most of  Europe scientific evidence and historical records suggest the closest they ever made it to the UK was Jersey. Most of the documented releases took place during the nineteenth century apart from the release at Boscombe thought to have taken place in 2002.

After the peace and quiet of camping in the Purbeck region of Dorset the hustle and bustle of Bournemouth seafront was quite a shock. It’s a strange place. Whilst I’m sure many people love Bournemouth my impression is of a town planning disaster zone. Whereas Blackpool has some Victorian charm and northern grit Bournemouth is bland. However when the sun shines the heat radiating down from the undercliff makes it feel like a Spanish Costa.

The latest survey suggests there’s around 2500 Wall Lizards within the area of Boscombe undercliff. In addition there’s also a few Western Green Lizards. Although we managed to see 1 of the Western Green’s unfortunately a cyclist went past us and it shot off into some Gorse. Definitely worth another visit to find some more - there isn’t many other lizards around with bright blue tails. The undercliffs are also a great spot for Clouded Yellow butterflies.

Finding the Wall Lizards isn’t difficult they’re everywhere. Simply pick any of the zig-zag paths down the face of the cliffs.

For more Wall Lizard related info please follow this link

Boscombe undercliff, September 2011
Perfectly capable of climbing vertical wall faces

Still seems incredible how long their tails are. Presumably must help with balance.
The length of the rear toes are probably the secret to the Wall Lizards incredible ability to climb
Although wary if you move slowly they are tolerant and will allow very close views.

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