Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara)

Common Lizard © Darin Smith


The common Lizard is easily Wiltshire’s most common reptile. The Lizard depends on the sunshine in order to be active but can suffer from overheating so avoids the midday sun. Following hibernation underground or in some sheltered niche, lizards emerge to bask in the spring sunshine. Mating takes place later in spring, from about mid-July the females give birth to as many as 10 live young which is around 4cm in length.


The common Lizard’s diet consists of invertebrates, especially spiders in rough vegetation.

How to identify/track?

The adult lizard has a narrow body and short legs, typically around 15cmlong of which well over half is long, tapering tail. It is fully scaled with a pattern of parallel lines and marking in shades of brown along the back, though rarely-seen belly can be rather colourful.

Did you know?

  • Latin name Vivipara means ‘live-bearer’, though the females do carry eggs from which the young emerge at the moment of birth
  • The Lizard can lose its tail in order to escape
  • Even though Lizard’s require sunlight, they thrive in places with high humidity.

Reserves where they are present

Most reserves with the habitat described above may have populations of lizards, especially if the wild areas are not small and isolated, or islands in an agricultural desert.

Others in the Reptile Family

AdderGrass Snake

Print out a copy of the Common Lizard fact sheet

For more on how to invite more reptiles and amphibians to your garden, see our actions to help wildlife.

If you'd like to help us continue to care for common lizard habitats in Wiltshire, please consider making a donation to support our work. Thank you!