When Paul Hudson decided to move house he had an unusual requirement: he also needed a home for sand lizards.

Paul, an electrical retailer from Cumbria, has a lifelong interest in Britain’s rarest lizard. Working with ARC, Paul has reintroduced hundreds of sand lizards into the wild.

Since 1995 Paul has bred and released an impressive 1,000 out of a total of 1,400 northern race sand lizards in two areas of Lancashire and five in Wales.

Paul said: “Sand lizards are my passion and I chose my new house mainly because it has a good location for a captive-breeding vivarium so I can continue the work of breeding and reintroducing this important species.”

The vivarium is an enclosed area for keeping and raising the animals for observation, research and captive breeding.  It simulates a portion of the species’ ecosystem on a small scale with controlled environmental conditions.

Paul does all he can for free including the yearly husbandry of the animals and has applied for financial support only to help with building products and specialist labour.  ARC has supported the work through its own limited species funds and applied to the British Herpetological Society Conservation Fund.

But the project is still £1,000 short so donations through ARC’s ‘Sponsor the Sand Lizard’ fund are very welcome. 

Nick Moulton, ARC’s Rare Reptile Conservation Officer, said: “Paul is a mainstay of the northern race sand lizard captive-breeding programme. He supports crucial work both as a volunteer and contractor. He makes a huge contribution to habitat management, captive breeding and re-introductions, plus site and species monitoring.”

In Britain sand lizards are found only in southern heaths and sand dunes in the north-west.  It is the country’s rarest and most protected lizard.

The northern sand lizards are paler than their southern counterparts, genetically different and also the rarest ‘race’ of the species in the UK.