Podarcis muralis, or the common wall lizard, is a small species of lizard very common in Europe. Very agile and rapid, this cold-blooded animal adores bathing in the sun and feeds on worms, insects, spiders and crickets.
This lizard is a very common species in Europe. It is particularly present in the south and west of France.
Its elongated body measures around 20 cms. long and it has a tail twice as long as its body. Its colour varies a lot, from brown to grey, and goes through all the variants of green on its back. Its stomach can be either yellow, blue or reddish.
The common wall lizard lives mainly in masses of fallen stones and rocks, in drystone walls and on stoney ground. Like all reptiles, it is cold-blooded, and therefore needs exposure to sunrays. Once the temperature in the sun goes over 33° C it looks for shelter in the shade to regulate its body temperature. Often perched on a wall, it seeks heat at the first sign of warm weather in the spring.
Extremely agile and fast, it scampers into a crevasse when the least threat appears, and comes out again when the danger has passed. A month after it comes out of hibernation, it coulples and lays its eggs between April and June, depending on the region. The coupling period is generally preceeded by agitated wrestling matches between males. Depending on the climate and the heat, the incubation of the eggs lasts between 4 and 11 weeks. Most young lizards are born between the end of July and the middle of August. They become adults around the age of two years.
The common wall lizard lives for 4 to 6 years on average. It feeds on insects like flies, caterpillars, butterflies, spiders, crickets, tineas and other worms. Its capacity to move rapidly makes it an excellent hunter. When confronted with a difficult enemy, it has a stategy for escaping – it loses its tail. The enemy is thus distracted by a moving tail while the lizard makes its escape !
Did you know ?
- Depending on the altitude and weather conditions, a female lizard can lay eggs between once and three times a year and it can lay between 2 and 10 eggs at a time.