Lacerta agilis

Where to find them

Due to vast habitat loss the species now only occurs naturally on protected heathland sites in Surrey, Dorset, Hampshire and the protect
ed Merseyside dunes systems. As the sand lizard requires both mature sunny habitats and open undisturbed sand, to lay their eggs, they can have quite limited distribution even within the protected sites.

Thanks to the reintroduction programme led by ARC, sand lizards have now been re-established at many other sites in these counties and also, to restore its historic range, to protected dune sites in north and west Wales, Kent, west Sussex, Devon and Cornwall.


The sand lizard is a stocky lizard, reaching up to 20cm in length. Both sexes have brown varied patterns down the back with two strong dorsal stripes. The male has extremely striking green flanks which are particularly bright during the breeding season in late April and May.


Animals emerge from hibernation from late March to April. The sand lizard lays eggs in late May or early June. The eggs are left buried in sand exposed to the sun which helps to keep them warm. Eggs hatch between late August and September. The sand lizard is dependent on well managed heathland or sand dune habitats, where it occupies mature vegetation that provides good cover.


Due to its rarity, the sand lizard is strictly protected by British and European law which makes it an offence to kill, injure, capture or disturb them; damage or destroy their habitat; or to possess or trade in them. A licence is required for some activities involving this species.