National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

Dragons in the dunes

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sand lizard 14-04-16

I have always enjoyed stalking lizards and as a boy, spent many happy hours searching, and sometimes catching, common lizards on the golf course. I well remember my first sighting of a male sand lizard and being amazed at its vivid green sides.  Having been used to the dull tones of common lizards, this struck me as something almost tropical.

The male sand lizards are in full colour now and well worth searching for, though spotting reptiles is quite a challenge as they are so sensitive to the vibrations of your approach. It seems contradictory, but I’ve found that the best place to get good views is around the beach huts.  I think this is because the lizards there are more used to the passing of people and less likely to disappear into the undergrowth.

This was well demonstrated recently when Joe and Liz were busy repairing steps at Middle Beach. Despite the hammering and sawing, a pair of sand lizards stayed in open view on the ground below, even when being photographed from only a few feet away.

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Author: Kevin Rideout

National Trust Visitor Experience Officer based at Studland

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