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Elegant Italians

Italian Wall Lizard, P.s. campestris (c) Andrew Gray, 2017

Wall lizards have a very wide distribution across Europe, from northern Spain across France and from Italy to the southern Balkans. They can also be found on many Mediterranean islands and their colouration varies considerably between populations. The Italian Wall Lizard, Podarcis sicula campestris, here in Montalcino, Tuscany, where I’m on holiday, are vivid green and really stunning creatures. This specimen is the most beautiful one I came across today!

These medium-sized lizards are really quite elegant in the way they sit and agile in the way they move. The males’ bright colouration stands out clearly from any stony background, although the females’ brown colouration helps them stay extremely well camouflaged and difficult to spot. These lizards love the sun and dry habitats, so the vineyards and walls of the hilltop town here are perfect for them. This is also the middle of their breeding season, when males go their brightest green to attract females.

Italian Wall Lizard, P.s. campestris (c) Andrew Gray

I do remember seeing these on my last visit, but somehow I had forgotten just how stunning they can be. As in many areas, it seems that cats are the main predators for these lizards and I notice the size of this population has seriously declined since I was last here 12 years ago.  As such, I’ll certainly be keeping my fingers crossed that these beautiful lizards don’t disappear completely from this area in the future, and that hopefully they can even make a real comeback.

2 Responses

  1. I grew up in El Salvador and to see lizards is something we got used to and I have not see any in the wild in the UK only at Manchester vivarium where I feel happy to see them .

  2. Hi, and thank you very much for writing. I am so pleased to hear you enjoy seeing the lizards in the Vivarium here in Manchester. There are some wonderful lizards in El Salvador and so nice to hear you grew up appreciating them. We currently have Sand lizards on display, which are native to the UK, but we have no wall lizards. Best seeing creatures in the wild, where they belong, but if you can’t, as many people can’t, they can still see and appreciate how special they are – and hopefully they will start to care for them everywhere! Thanks again, lovely to hear from you!

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