Lizards of all shapes and sizes!

Today I went for a short hike around an area just over the Yorkshire border not too far from where I live. This area mostly consists of open heather moorland and the Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) can be found throughout this area, although usually in small densities. In a bracken covered, humid valley I found 10 or so lizards in half an hour, include tiny neonates, to adult gravid females. This is probably the highest number of lizards I have seen during one visit in my local area.

Female Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

Gravid female Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

Male Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

A different male Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

A baby Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

The habitat

By Matt Wilson

A first in three months..

One evening this week I had a quick search for Adders (Vipera berus), but in very heavy rain I didn’t hold much hope. However, lifting some ground cover I found many Common toads (Bufo bufo), followed by two female adders curled up together under some debris. As they were both ‘old friends’ and gravid, I left them alone and searching some more I uncovered the first male adder I have seen since April. Great! A second visit a few days later, in cloudy weather I saw 3 females, again all gravid, and specimens I had seen before.

Male Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

One of many Common toads (Bufo bufo) (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

Summer weekend with a bit of herping

On Saturday, again in hot weather, I managed to see two female Adders (Vipera berus) basking next to each other and then a couple of hours later I found one of these females beneath a flat stone. On Sunday, I went for a hike on the moorland surrounding my village and went for a swim in a nice pond where I used to go when I was a child. There was a very large population of Palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) together with many well-developed tadpoles of Common frog (Rana temporaria). In most areas close to me newts have left the water by now, so I was surprised to still see the males in breeding condition and demonstrating some courtship behavior. Despite this I could still see lots of newt larvae together with the 30 or so adults I could see in one area of the pond so perhaps in remote locations they spend most of the summer in the water.

Small female Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Small female Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) found twice on Saturday

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

Habitat

By Matt Wilson