Rutland Water Nature Reserve reports first sightings of common lizard since 2007
A reptile thought to be in decline has been spotted at a nature reserve for the first time in more than 15 years.
A 2007 project to rehome more than 50 common lizards at Rutland Water was thought to have failed.
The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (LRWT) moved more than 50 common lizards to Lax Hill, in the heart of its nature reserve, from a proposed development site at the Wing Water Treatment Works.
However, numerous sightings of both adult and juvenile lizards at a number of different locations around Lax Hill were reported to the trust last summer.
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A team of volunteers had collected the lizards over a period of a few weeks through the early summer of 2007 and moved them to a site on the south-facing side of the hill.
The site had been adapted especially for the lizards using piles of rocks within an existing area of acid grassland and gorse scrub, yet in the years following the translocation, no lizards were found during surveys. Until last year!
The common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is widespread in Britain, although it is considered to be declining due to habitat loss.
They can be found in different habitats including woodland, heathland, moorland and grasslands.
Also known as the Viviparus Lizard, they are unusual among British reptiles in that they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs.
They can be best spotted on sunny days in spring and summer months basking in the sun on a wooden fence post or on bare ground or rocks.