Monday, June 17, 2013

Green lizards in my garden

Twenty minutes ago, I noticed a couple of superb green lizards approaching one of my garden plots.

[Click to enlarge]

Maybe they're surprised to discover that familiar weeds have disappeared. When they scrambled into the vegetation in this garden plot at the foot of the stairs, I went down cautiously to see if I could get a closer look at them. No problem. They didn't appear to be particularly upset by my presence with a camera, just a couple of meters in front of them.

They're beautiful creatures, known as western green lizards [Lacerta bilineata]. The bigger of the two specimens in my garden, with a blue throat, is a male. The female is much smaller and more slender. They eat insects, and live for some 15 years. Now that I know they're inhabiting my garden, I'll make sure they're not hanging around in a plot where I'm working. They're not venomous, but will apparently try to inflict a bite upon a foe, and it's said that such a bite is quite painful. Above all, I must make a point of keeping Fitzroy out of the garden, because he would instantly declare war on these attractive reptiles.

NOTE: Australian readers of my blog might look upon these creatures as small goannas. Needless to say, I'm incapable of examining their respective genealogies, but I would imagine that the two families differ most considerably in their eating habits. Even a small goanna (some are no bigger than my green lizards) is prepared to consume birds' eggs, frogs, smaller snakes and lizards, small rodents, etc, whereas the green lizards of Western Europe would find it unthinkable to eat such stuff.

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