We are so happy to be back in school and even happier now that the weather is getting brighter and warmer – which means Wendy is back and we get to spend lots of time outdoors and planting with her in the garden!
We love spending time outdoors and getting our handy dirty (don’t worry – we wash and sanitise them after! 😉) Yesterday we all got a chance to plant spring onions, and runner beans and lots more.
What we didn’t expect to find growing in our garden was a lizard! How cool was that? A real-life lizard! Even better was that Wendy knew loads facts about them so we learned lots and every class got a chance to look at it.
The lizard is called the native common lizard (Zootoca Vivipara). The common lizard, Ireland’s only reptile, can often be seen sunning itself on dry stone walls, rocks or logs during the summer months. They occupy a range of habitats, including woodland, marshes, moors, bogs, sand-dunes and even rubbish dumps!
Their colouration helps them to blend with their surroundings, and they can disappear into a crevice or under a stone with startling speed at the first sign of disturbance. So we were lucky to have caught this one for a little while so we could look at it.
Common lizards are usually between 10cm and 16cm (4 inches and 6 inches) long, although larger specimens can reach 18cm (7 inches).
Male lizards have orange-yellow bellies with black spots, while females have creamy white bellies usually without spots.
Lizards can typically be found basking on sunny days in the morning or the afternoon, but not generally during the middle of the day, when they are in danger of overheating. After cooling overnight, a lizard needs to increase its body temperature to somewhere in the region of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) before it can hunt effectively. They eat insects, spiders, slugs, snails and earthworms: pouncing on their prey and stunning it by shaking before swallowing it whole!
You can find lots more information about Zootoca Vivipara here and remember, if you spot one, you can register your sighting, like we did, at Biodiversity Ireland to help them to keep track of the health of the lizard population in Ireland. And don’t forget to release them back to the wild! 🦎😊