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Interesting facts about the sand lizard

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We found 17 interesting facts about the sand lizard

Lacerta agilis

This reptile, the most numerous in Poland, lives in low-lying areas throughout the country. It plays a beneficial role in the ecosystem by preying on caterpillars that parasitize crops. It is not poisonous and not dangerous to humans; it can often be found around houses, where they bask in the sun, on home lawns and in rock gardens.


The sand lizard belongs to the lizard family.

This is a very large family, including about 300 species, divided into 39 genera.

It is found in almost all of Europe and parts of Asia.

It can be found both in the British Isles and in central Europe, western Russia and northwestern China. Not found on the Iberian Peninsula.

This is the most common reptile in Poland.

It does best in flat areas such as meadows, gardens and open spaces where it can lie in the sun.

Depending on the population, the color of the sand lizard may vary.

On the sides of the body there are two lines consisting of eye-like spots. The body color is light brown to dark brown with a dark stripe running from the neck to the end of the tail. The females of these lizards have a more distinct pattern than the males. In the spring, during the mating season, the sides of males become bright green and fade only at the end of summer. The sex of a gerbil can also be determined by the color of its underbelly, which is greenish in males and gray or cream in females.

Like most reptiles, their body is covered with scales.

On the back they are smaller and rougher, and the abdominal part is covered with larger and smooth ones, facilitating the movement of the animal.

Body length can reach 24 cm. Individuals from Eastern Europe can reach up to 28 cm. They have a compact, stocky body.

Both legs and muzzle are short. The paws end in long fingers equipped with claws. The tail, in turn, makes up almost half of their length, i.e. about 11 cm.

Sandworms are carnivorous.

The basis of its diet consists of invertebrates, spiders and insects. It also feeds on caterpillars. It can hunt the young of other lizards and, under special conditions, devour young representatives of its own species.

Like most cold-blooded organisms, they are active during the day.

They warm their bodies with the first rays of sunlight in order to use the accumulated energy for hunting during the day.

They avoid too high temperatures and hide in their burrows.

Temperatures around 40°C are too high for them, and they are forced to look for places where they can cool off. Their burrows are best suited for this purpose, where they spend the night and fiercely protect them from uninvited guests.

They are very territorial.

They defend the territory they occupy and the burrow inside it, which they can occupy throughout their lives. The sand lizard's burrow is up to 5 cm deep and has many branches, which confuses predators. The length of underground burrow systems of sandworms can reach 8 m.

They spend the winter hibernating in their dens.

They burrow into them around October and leave in March or April. Their activity is closely related to ambient temperature.

After hibernation ends, the breeding season lasts from May to June.

During this period, males become very aggressive and fight with each other in order to capture as many females as possible. During fights, males grab the throat, muzzle or limbs to prove their advantage over the enemy.

After fertilization, the female lays 5 to 15 eggs in the burrow.

In record cases, she can lay up to 18 eggs, which she then (like most reptiles) buries in well-lit soil and leaves to their fate. The young hatch approximately 6 weeks after the eggs are laid, and newly hatched individuals are approximately 6 centimeters long.

The lifespan of a sand lizard in the wild is 5 to 8 years.

Males can live up to 12 years and females up to 18, but due to predators this is rare.

Most often they become prey for weasels, foxes, badgers, birds and snakes.

Among domestic animals, the greatest threat to them is cats and chickens.

When threatened, the lizard may drop its tail.

This move is designed to distract the predator's attention and allow it to escape safely. After some time, the lizard's tail begins to grow, although it rarely reaches its original shape and length.

In Poland it is a partially protected species.

Despite still being in large numbers, the gerbil population has declined in some parts of the country. The main reason can be considered growing industrialization, which is depriving lizards of their habitat.
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